Technical Assistance & Incentives

There are numerous resources to support new & expanding business in Arkansas. Listed are some of the most often utilized resources. Connect with the staff at the Clarksville Regional Economic Development Organization/Chamber of Commerce to guide you to the resources that fit your idea and your business model.

 Business Resources

-Technical Assistance Provided by the Arkansas Main Street Program-

  • Free consulting from Main Street Arkansas technical staff regarding design, color, material options, how to improve upon streetscapes, creating inviting storefronts, how to feature historic qualities, constructing window displays to attract customers, signage, lighting, parking options, and other topics as needed by businesses.
  • The services are available to businesses located in the Clarksville historic district. The buildings can be historic or new construction to participate in the Main Street services.
  • Contact the Chamber/Economic Development staff to become connected to the Main Street services. This service is provided by the Chamber/Economic Development Organization’s membership to Main Street America and fufills the City of Clarksville’s strategy to sustain a vibrant downtown.

  • Interior design consulting includes advice on feasibility plans, conceptual planning drawings, utilizing historic features within a rehabilitation plan, designing window displays that sell, color options, and much more.
  • Contact the Chamber/Economic Development staff to connect you to the resources from Main Street Arkansas.

  • Advice from trained professionals on inventory control techniques, marketing strategies, how to brand the business, and how to deliver best practices customer service.
  • Contact the Chamber/Economic Development staff to connect you to the expertise you desire to grow your business.

The grant is a $500 matching investment for businesses improving their facade or signage. The funding is limited and is first-come, first-served. The grant funding and administration is from the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Organization and the City of Clarksville. The purpose of the grant is to invest in the “living room” of a community, its downtown, and improve upon the physical assets of the downtown.

Get more information by contacting our staff at 479.754.2340 or view the application here.

Access to Capital to Start or Grow Your Business

The first place to begin raising capital to help fund your business is from family and friends. A well conceived business model and plan will gain support from valued relationships.  When additional capital is needed and the business is providing a cash flow, debt financing may be the next step.

Assistance is available at no cost to help with preparing a package about your business to present to lenders and agencies. You will have to demonstrate that the business revenue can generate enough cash to pay the loan, and that collateral exists to secure the loan funds from a lender.

What happens when a lender informs you more equity is needed from you in the deal, or that collateral is weak? There are resources to partner with you to provide the gap in equity if the business plan is solid.

What if debt financing is not an option because of a start up business? There are resources to fund pre-revenue deals with a solid business plan.

Contact the Chamber/Economic Development staff to guide you to the right resources for the business you want.

Workforce Resources

The Clarksville-Johnson County Workforce Center provides services to employers and job seekers. The Center is located at 33 Sherwood Plaza in Clarksville. This convenient one-stop resource is part of a statewide network of Arkansas Workforce Centers linking employers and job seekers to one another. 479.754.8969

In addition, the center will provide information regarding business income tax credits for hiring veterans and the unemployed.

The Workforce Centers are connected to a state network administered by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The Center assists employers with developing job descriptions and skill requirements, recruitment and screening for job positions, labor market information, training for new workers or incumbant, (existing), workers.
The Center assists people with the preparation to apply for jobs such as updating a resume, interview techniques, matching jobs to the person’s skills, and other needs as identified in preparing people to land a job.

Incentives

The Clarksville Regional Economic Development Organization, the city of Clarksville, and Johnson County, collaborate to prepare an agreement of incentives to meet the needs of businesses expanding or locating in our location. These businesses are creating new capital investment by creating new positions, thus growing their payroll, and investing in machinery and equipment, and/or real estate.

Custom Incentive Agreements

Because each business has their own key drivers, Clarksville Regional Economic Development Organization will collaborate with federal, state and local entities for resources to create a custom incentive agreement tailored to the fit the needs of investing business.

Types of Businesses Eligible

Incentive programs individually have their own eligibility criteria, therefore certain businesses qualify. The following types of businesses typically are eligible:

  • Businesses purchasing a building and making a significant investment into a building, particularly in the historic district
  • Businesses with significant sales to out-to-state customers that are expanding their operation by adding capital investment in equipment and machinery, and adding new positions because of growth and demand. These companies may be manufacturers, distribution centers, wholesale centers, or professional service firms. These firms have more than average economic impact on the local economy

Types of Incentives or Resources

  • Assistance with land acquisition
  • Workforce training grants and workforce trainers
  • Infrastructure and utility development
  • Potential for refund of certain sales tax in exchange for capital investment
  • Assistance with bank participation or non-traditional lending
  • Assistance with free government contracting consulting
  • Exterior building grants for improvements to buildings (available both to property owners and businesses leasing the building)
  • Assistance with free exterior design consulting
  • Free small business consulting services

Additional Resources

The Arkansas Capital Corporation is a lender that partners with banks and people to fund businesses considered not yet bankable. A lender may be restricted to loan to a business that does not have the amount of cash or collateral needed to meet banking regulations. In this case a trusted organization exists to fill that gap in cash, (equity), and collateral. The chamber/economic development organization will assist you in connecting to the right resource.
The Forge is located in Huntsville, Arkansas. This organization offers a revolving loan fund to businesses and small farmers who have been denied credit from a bank or other lenders. The Forge can lend to anywhere in the State of Arkansas. For more information visit theforgeonline.com.
Visit the Arkansas Agriculture Department website aad.arkansas.gov for additional information.

Maximum grant amount is $70,000 / Minimum grant amount is $5,000

  • Must promote Arkansas’s specialty crops
  • Applicants must be registered in the System of Awards Management or SAM
  • Connect with chamber/economic development staff to learn more about this resource or how to register with SAM.
Get more information by visiting the website atu.edu/asbtdc.com.

The Small Business Development & Technology Center is supported by the Small Business Administration and Arkansas Tech University. The purpose of the center is provide fee consulting services to local citizens with business planning, business financing, understanding cash flow, market analysis information to understand the competitiveness of certain business sectors, and how to establish a business in Arkansas.

Get more information at www.arcapital.com about the Heartland Renaissance Fund in Arkansas.

New Market Tax Credit financing is a mechanism to provide an incentive for businesses, health care and education related investment into economic development projects located in low-income communities. A project needs to meet $4 to $5 million in investment or more to qualify. The financing is a below market rate with flexible terms.

Get more information at the Natural State Angel Association hosted by Startup Junkie Consulting.

Angel Funds are groups of accredited investors dedicated to providing equity capital for early and mid-stage entrepreneurial companies. The Angels review deals as a group and then vote to invest their pooled capital. In Arkansas, Startup Junkie can guide entrepreneurs to the private angel funds and venture capital funds that are the best fit for the type of project needing investors.