The Arkansas Human Development Corporation, Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will host a free rural business development conference Friday, March 12, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to provide rural residents with the skills and tools needed to create and expand small businesses and engage in job creation.

The conference will be held virtually and remotely in Lake Village at the Vision Center, 512 Highways 65 and 82 for participants without computer access. Space is limited with social distancing, temperature checks, masks and released forms required.

Funded by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, AHDC, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, the conference will bring together approximately 20 private, state, federal and nonprofit organizations with a singular mission of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to start and expand their businesses.

Topics will include but are not limited to, building effective business relationships, securing the right kind of capital, how to sell goods and services to the government, and how to use the many services of the ASBTDC to develop and/or expand your business.

A “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” starts at 8:30 a.m. with participants networking with local, regional and statewide lenders, including Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, Bank of Lake Village, First Service Bank, FORGE, along with Rural Missouri, Inc. (RMI), Simmons Bank, Southern Bancorp, and USDA, Rural Development. A panel discussion will be moderated by Mr. Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office, SBA.

Current business owners and those just getting started, youth entrepreneurs, business and technical school students, apprentices, veterans, faith-based leaders and community and economic development professionals, are invited to attend. The luncheon address will be delivered by Chauncey Holloman Pettis, Director of the Arkansas Women’s Business Center.

To register for the free conference, contact Arkansas Human Development Corporation toll free at (800) 482-7641 or (501) 374-1103, ext. 10, or register online HERE.