Player to watch: Zion HatleyREAD ONLINE
Minority Task Force to host events for entrepreneursPublished September 17, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
The Minority Task Force of Clark County will host two events in October to assist minority business owners or those planning to start a business. Discussing these events are, from left, task-force members Stephen Bell, president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce; Tiffany McNeal, the alliance’s director of communications; and Leah Hasley, director of the Henderson State University Small Business Technology Development Center.
ARKADELPHIA It’s been about 18 months since Leah Hasley and Stephen Bell met and discussed the possibility of forming a minority task force to address needs in Clark County. Both work with business owners, or with those who wish to establish a business in the county.
Hasley is director of the Henderson State University Small Business Technology Development Center, which serves 10 counties, including Clark County. Bell is president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce.
Hasley and Bell reached out to others in the county and formed the Minority Task Force of Clark County. This task force assists minorities, including various ethnic groups, women and service-disabled veterans, who desire to start or expand a business. The task force also proposes solutions by providing the business owners with real-world technical and professional assistance.
Other members of the task force include Kyle Jones, assistant director of the McNair Scholars Program at Henderson State University and pastor of Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; Jeremy Hughes, a Shelter Insurance agent; Bill Wright, CEO of the Western Region for Southern Bancorp; Jennifer Story, clerk and human-resources manager for the city of Arkadelphia; Anita Wiley, manager of the Arkadelphia building and code-enforcement department; and Tiffany McNeal, director of communications for the Arkadelphia Alliance.
The task force will host a mobile entrepreneurial hub from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, 2401 Pine St., Suite B. Southern Bancorp will provide hot dogs, chips and drinks. This event is free and open to the public.
“We want to first educate these potential minority business owners,” Hasley said, noting that everyone on the task force is committed to small-business growth and success in the community. “Attendees will be provided with information regarding assistance, certifications and marketable ideas to expand their business and more.
“We are looking forward to working with many more businesses and entrepreneurs,” she said.
Bell said this hub “will help us broaden our reach in the community. We want to help as many businesses as we can be successful and grow.”
In addition to the mobile hub, the minority task force will host an informational forum from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Community Family Enrichment Center, 301 N. 23rd St. Hasley will present information about the services available at Henderson’s Small Business Technology Development Center, and Wright will speak about the services Southern Bancorp offers to minority entrepreneurs.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Small and Minority Business Division will provide attendees with information regarding the state’s Minority Business Enterprise Certification Program and the Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program. Attendees will learn who is eligible for these programs and receive information about the application process.
Benefits of certification will be highlighted, as well as loan assistance for those who are state-certified. The Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program helps Arkansas’ state-certified minority businesses with loan guarantees from $10,000 to $100,000.
For more information on the Minority Task Force of Clark County, its upcoming events or assistance with business needs, call Hasley at (870) 230-5184.