The Small Business and Technology Development Center of the University of Arkansas at Monticello on October 28 will host a free one-day regional conference in Dumas to assist the growth of small businesses in southeast Arkansas. The conference will be held at the Dumas Community Center.

The conference, entitled “2011 Southeast Arkansas Business and Enterprise Development Conference: Sharpening Your Competitive Edge,” is a collaborative effort between UAM and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Arkansas Human Development Corporation.

The conference will bring together state, federal, nonprofit and private sector organizations with a goal of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and resources needed to start or expand their businesses.

Topics will include how to build effective partnerships, how to secure capital, the use of social networking in business, and unlocking the purchasing process. Participants will learn about the types of assistance available from federal and state agencies such as the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, the UAM Small Business and Technology Development Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the USDA., Rural Development and small business lenders.

The conference will focus on the basics of small business development, beginning at 8 a.m. with a breakfast roundtable featuring bankers and micro-business lenders from ACCION Arkansas, Alt. Consulting, Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, Bank of Star City, Commercial Bank of Monticello, Hope Credit Union, Merchants and Farmers Bank of Dumas, Pine Bluff National Bank, Simmons First of Lake Village, and Union Bank of Monticello. Small business owners will have an opportunity to meet and interact with representatives who can discuss a vast range of finance options.

Jeff Amerine of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at UA-Fayetteville will discuss new ideas for startups during a luncheon for conference participants.

The conference is free but registration is encouraged. To register, call (870) 460-1910.