National News

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Program Amended To Include Women

Posted September 1, 2017 11:19 a.m. EDT

— The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has expanded a minority business program to include women business owners.

Act 1080, which passed the Arkansas Legislature in March, was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson. It will take effect September 1.

The act amended the program to include women in the Minority Business Enterprise Certification Program, which gives an advantage to those groups when applying for state programs or bidding on state projects.

Service-disabled veterans and additional minority groups were also included in Act 1080.

The new law was heralded during a small gathering in downtown Fayetteville on Thursday (Aug. 31).

A few local female business owners were in attendance and spoke about how the change would affect them and their businesses, including Dr. Holly Anderson, owner of Uptown Eyes.

"It will open up opportunities for us as women-owned businesses to move forward and to propel the businesses forward," Anderson said.

Along with the addition of women, Act 1080 also changed the name of the program to the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, pointed to the numbers of female-owned businesses in Fayetteville. Clark said with around 4,000 businesses in Fayetteville, about 15 to 20 percent are women-owned or operated.

"We have so many small businesses, and so many of those are women-owned, and they're a part of what makes our economy very, very healthy," said Clark.

Lakisha Bradley who owns a local detail shop with her husband said this move will allow them to expand their business.

"The support that the team has provided for is helping us to capitulated our business to the next level," Bradley said. "Our ultimate goal is to expand our workforce here in Fayetteville."