Business Forward EA

Business Forward East Arkansas is the foremost directory for regional business resources. We build strong communities and grow business by leveraging public and private resources. Whatever your business needs, Business Forward East Arkansas will respond with innovative solutions.

The list below represents just a few of the organizations whose work contributes to the common goal of economic growth:

Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC)

AEDC, which consists of 16 members appointed to four-year terms by the governor, provides a range of invaluable business resources, from grants and incenties to a comprehensive list of available buildings and sites (found here).

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC)

ASBTDC offers a wealth of information and resources for Arkansas business-owners, from market research to small-business grants to step-by-step business plans for entrepreneurs. This free resource is available throughout the state.

The Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP)

ACEDP is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for the State of Arkansas. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission administers the small cities CDBG program under a grant agreement between the State of Arkansas and the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services contains several programs that are specialized for meeting the needs of job seekers, employers, and the general public. These programs are: Career Readiness Certification, Governor’s Dislocated Workers Task Force, Mature Workers Initiative, Migrant Farm Labor Center, Temporary assistance for Needy Families, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Unemployment Services, and Veteran Services.

Phone: 501.682.2121

The Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE)

ACE oversees career and technical education programs in the secondary schools, secondary area career centers, adult and youth apprenticeship programs, two postsecondary technical institutes and adult education programs.


SCORE provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business. Whether you are just starting a business or expanding an established business, SCORE counselors are here to help you succeed.

Phone: 501-324-7379 Ext 302


Arkansas has an array of nationally competitive incentives designed to assist a wide selection of qualifying new and existing businesses in various stages of growth. Factors considered include business/industrial capital investment, payroll, workforce development and community support in preparing incentive proposals.

For a complete list of our state’s nationally competitive incentives, visit Arkansas Economic Development Center.


Arkansas Secretary of State Office Business and Commercial Services (BCS)

BCS is Arkansas’s starting point for entrepreneurs wishing to transact business in the state. Consumers can search for a unique name for their company as well as file the appropriate document types for their business. The BCS Division also records trademarks, files notary public certifications, issues Authentication of Documents and Apostilles, and records Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filings.

Phone: 501.682.3409

Professional Licensing

Many occupations in Arkansas are required by law to maintain a professional license and the professional development, accreditation, testing and experience requirements specific to each license. It is important to verify if you or your business fall under this mandate.


  • Corporate Income: 1.0 – 6.5%
  • Personal Income: 0.9 – 7.0% (Tax year beginning January 1, 2014)
  • Sales and Use: 6.5%
  • Corporate Franchise: 0.30% of capital stock
  • For new businesses: 4.0%
  • For existing Arkansas businesses: 1.2 – 13.1%

For a complete list of State and Local Taxes, visit the AEDC Taxation Data Center or IRS Tax Information for Businesses.

Federal Withholding

There are many Federal Withholdings businesses may be subject to. Examples include Federal Unemployment Tax, Federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and more. For a comprehensive guide to business taxes and deductions, visit IRS Tax Information for Businesses.

State Withholding

If the business has employees and has already received an Employer Identification Number, register with the state for a state withholding information packet. Use Form AR4ER, obtained from the office or web site below.

The EIN issued by the IRS will be the same number used by Arkansas for the purposes of state withholding.

Upon receipt of the request, the Department of Finance and Administration will forward materials to the business for remitting state income tax on a monthly basis, and submitting tax reports on a quarterly basis.

For more information, visit Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

Phone: 501.682.2212

Sales and Use Tax

All retail businesses, including e-retailers, and some service businesses should have a sales and use tax permit. Use Tax is paid on goods if purchased out of state and the seller does not collect sales tax. Taxes are paid monthly. If the business collects $25 or less, taxes are reported quarterly or semiannually. To apply for a permit, submit an application along with a $50 non-refundable fee to the location referenced below. Furthermore, when buying an existing business, sellers should provide buyers with a current statement from the Sales and Use Tax office.

For more information, visit Department of Finance and Administration Revenue Department

Phone: 501.682.7104

Mailing Address: PO Box 1272, Little Rock, AR 72203


U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the nation. The SBA offers a variety of programs and resources to help build and grow small businesses, including financing options. The SBA’s assistance usually is in the form of loan guaranties – the SBA guarantees loans made by banks and other private lenders to small business clients. – America’s Debt Help Organization is America’s Debt Help Organization. It strives to provide small businesses with a wide variety of information in regards to their finances. It offers information on how to handle tax delays, how to make pay roll, how to separate business and personal finances and numerous other pages of helpful information. It can also assist small businesses with settling or consolidating previous debts.


alt.Consulting is a non-profit that promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and strengthens small business by providing consulting, training, technical assistance, and access to capital.


The Community Development Block Grant Program

The Community Development Block Grant Program offers grants for community and economic development as a means to improve the quality of life for rural citizens of Arkansas. Eligible activities under the CDBG program include the construction of water and wastewater systems, childcare facilities, senior citizen centers, public health facilities and multi-purpose community centers.

The Governor’s Division of Volunteerism (DOV)

The DOV is a vital part of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, was established to support the growth and development of volunteerism throughout the State.

Phone: 501.682.6051

Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support (DCSNS)

The DCSNS strengthens community resources, volunteerism and national service in Arkansas.

Phone: 501.682.7540

Arkansas Community Foundation

Arkansas Community Foundation engages people, connects resources and inspires solutions to build community. 

Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance

The Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance provide resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities to help start new and strengthen existing nonprofits.

Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education

The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education oversees grant programs to further childcare services in Arkansas.

Phone: 501.682.9699

Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA)

The ASTA provides state grants, through a competitive application process, to Arkansas enterprises in applied research, technology transfer, and development of innovative technology-based businesses and projects that stimulate economic growth and industrial competitiveness in Arkansas.

Address: 900 West Capitol, Suite 320, Little Rock, AR 72201

Phone: 501.683.4400

Catalog of Federal and Domestic Assistance

Online catalog that gives you access to a database of all federal programs available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.


Workforce development is a priority of the state’s technical colleges and institutes, which work with local business and industry to meet existing and new workforce needs. More than 95 percent of the state’s population lives within a 30-mile radius of one of these institutions.

East Arkansas industry employs roughly 63,000 workers. Like most of the United States, Arkansas’s service industry accounts for the largest percentage of jobs in the state. Both manufacturing and agriculture, however, still play an important role in the local economy.

–Production Transportation constitutes nearly 20 percent of jobs in the Crossroads region.

–Manufacturing constitutes about 14 percent of Arkansas GDP (BEA 2012)

alt.Consulting and Phillips Community College University of Arkansas have partnered to create Launch Your Business, a free online course that teaches upstart business owners to conduct feasibility research.

–The state’s Business and Industry Training Program, designed for new and expanding industry, helps companies with recruiting workers, pre-employment training and on-the-job training.

The Existing Workforce Training Program provides financial assistance to Arkansas businesses to upgrade technology skills needed to remain competitive and economically viable.

–Relying on extensive employer involvement, the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges developed the Workforce Readiness Curriculum. The association’s Workforce Consortium serves more than 2,100 Arkansas businesses each year.

–Arkansas offers one of the most progressive workers’ compensation programs in the nation. More than 300 insurance companies underwrite workers’ compensation insurance, making it affordable for employers and guaranteeing that employees will be compensated fairly and thoroughly for compensable injuries.

–As a right-to-work state, Arkansas prohibits making union membership a condition for employment.

The Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium

ADTEC, a collaboration of community colleges in Eastern Arkansas, has been recognized as the nation’s No. 1 workforce training model by none other than the U.S. Department of Labor. The consortium has also been recognized by the Education Commission of the States, Community College Futures Assembly, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Workforce Strategy Center, Southern Business & Development and Southern Growth Policies Board. Since its inception, ADTEC has been successful in garnering more than $63 million in external investments, mostly federal, to support regional workforce development initiatives.

The Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP)

EWTP provides financial assistance to Arkansas’s businesses and eligible consortia of businesses for upgrading the skills of the existing workforce to adapt to new or altered technologies and/or acquire new skills needed to remain competitive and economically viable. Training is for full-time, permanent employees who work at least 30 hours a week and are subject to Arkansas’s personal income tax. Reimbursements are calculated according to a set of scoring criteria.

Eligible businesses:

  • Manufacturing – NAICS codes 31-33
  • Biotechnology – NAICS code 541710
  • National/Regional Corporate Headquarters – NAICS code 551114
  • Air transport – NAICS code 488190
  • Building Trades – NAICS codes 236 and 238 (23899 not eligible)


Locating a business in Arkansas enhances the company’s competitiveness around the world and enhances the state economy. The AEDC Global Development Team offers the following services:

  • Site location data
  • Building specification
  • Infrastructure assistance
  • Permitting assistance
  • Performance-based incentives
  • Workforce training assistance and incentives
  • Community leadership engagement

Japan and Southeast Asia Office

Neal Jansen is the Director of the State of Arkansas Japan and Southeast Asia Office. Mr. Jansen is a native Arkansan from Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a BA in International Business and a minor in Japanese Studies. After graduation, he spent 2 years in the JET Program (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program). During the last 3 years, Mr. Jansen has worked at Seiyu (Walmart) at their headquarters in Tokyo and has been involved in everything from stocking shelves to handling operational and security issues. Mr. Jansen speaks, reads, and writes Japanese at a very high-level of proficiency.

Mr. Jansen will continue the work of recruiting Japanese companies to Arkansas to create jobs for Arkansans as well as maintaining good relationships with the headquarters of Japanese companies already in Arkansas.

Neal Jansen

State of Arkansas Japan and Southeast Asia Office

Toranomon 40MT Bldg., 7th Floor

5-13-1, Toranomon, Minatoku-ku,

Tokyo, Japan 105-0001

Phone: +81-3-4530-9815

Fax: +81-3-4530-9800

China Office

Under the direction of Lindsay Liu, AEDC’s China Office works to build relations between China and Arkansas to bring industry to the Natural State. Ms. Liu joined AEDC’s China Office as a chief representative in April 2010. Prior to her work with Arkansas, Liu served as managing director of the China Office for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Lindsay Liu

Room 2661, 26/F New Town Center Building

83 Loushanguan Road

Shanghai, China 200336

Phone: (86-21)-3133-2661

Fax: (86-21)-3133-2686