Small, minority, women, and disadvantage businesses in Arkansas can get financial help. There are a number of free government grants that can help pay the bills as well as low interest or interest free loans near you. The funds are for start up companies as well as small businesses, but a focus is on women owned companies, Black or Latino businesses, veterans, and those that have limited access to other funds.
Free grants and/or loans can be provided by banks, the state of Arkansas (or federal government), non-profits, or other lenders. The list of assistance programs is below. Most of the financial assistance is for women and minority businesses in Little Rock, Fayetteville, or Hot Springs, but financial help (as well as free mentoring) is offered statewide, including near you. There are also corporate programs, free mentoring resources from volunteers, workshops, and many other business services.
Low cost business loans and free grants for Arkansas
Find an ongoing list of financial assistance from loans, free grants, counseling, advice and other resources in Arkansas near you. Government programs, non-profits and corporate donations or resources are all listed, with women, veterans, and minorities taking priority. The most recent announcement of a program will be at the top of the list.
Ongoing and Year Round Resources
The Arkansas Community Foundation has a number of offices across the state. They offer many services to help small to mid sized businesses in Arkansas start and/or grow. They also partner with non-profits, lenders, and organizations such as Building Black Communities in an effort to give financial help, counseling, advice, technical support and more. Business assistance is only one resources offered. Read more. https://www.arcf.org/
Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light operates statewide, with a focus on environmental and “green” businesses. They are an approved Kiva lender so can help facilitate interest free-loans. Another focus is on helping social causes businesses that focus on minorities, veteran, LGTBQ+ and similar companies that have a energy efficiency and clean focus as well as renewable energy. They give support and financial help in a nonpartisan, theological perspective. Read more on AIPL here. https://www.arkansasipl.com/
Latino owned businesses across Arkansas can get assistance from Conexion de Negocios Latinos. Most of the aid is for the central as well as NW part of the state. There are 0% (interest free) loans as Conexion de Negocios Latinos is a Kiva Trustee. Or get help with marketing, publicity, education or workshops and so much more. They help new/start ups as well as existing Latino owned businesses. Find more information here. https://conexiondenegocioslatinos.com/en/
Little Rock Black owned businesses can get assistance from Rock It! Lab. The program was created in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). Black owned businesses, both female or male owned, can use the center to network, do work, use Wi-Fi, and more. The Lab also provides additional assistance programs such as free mentorship, consultation such as referrals to free grant or loan programs for capital, co-working spaces and other aid. Learn more on the lab here. https://cals.org/rock-it-lab
Startup Junkie provides a number of assistance programs, including interest free (0% interest) Kiva loans in Arkansas. They are a regional non-profit that helps people who have an idea for a business, entrepreneurs, as well as current owners of small to mid size businesses. They help provide Capital from the loans, there is a science and technology center, workshops on business development, free consulting and more. A major focus is on women and minority, as well as veteran, businesses, Get assistance with a Kickstarter campaign or pro-forma financial projections too. Find their free services here. https://www.startupjunkie.org/
January and February 2021
Small to midsized businesses in Arkansas can apply for round 2 of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) from the SBA. Various national and local lenders are participating. They are giving first applications to women as well as minority owned companies. Businesses with less than 300 employees can apply, and the applicant needs to have been hit by COVID. Free grants can help with payroll, rent, bills, PPE equipment and other bills. Read more. https://arcapital.com/
Hospitality, service, restaurant and travel businesses in Arkansas can apply for free grants. The funds are for small to mid sized businesses (with less than 250 employees), and a couple hundred thousand dollars may be offered to qualified businesses, including minority and female owned. It can be for expenses including rent, utilities, salaries, and other expenses that need to be paid in order for the business to remain open. The government and CARES act are offering these free grants. Call (888) 722-1554 for information, or apply here, https://arkansasready.com/news/grant-to-aid-the-arkansas-service-and-hospitality-industries/
By Jon McNamara