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A Guide to Small Business Grants in Arkansas


This article focuses on providing a comprehensive guide to exploring small business grants available in Arkansas. Whether you are a new entrepreneur seeking startup funding or an established business owner looking to expand, understanding the types of grants offered, how to identify and apply for them, and the application process is crucial. Here, we delve into the various grants, offer tips for a successful application, and provide additional insights to help you navigate the grant landscape effectively.

Types of Grants Offered in Arkansas

Arkansas offers a variety of small business grants aimed at fostering economic growth and supporting entrepreneurship within the state. These grants are often provided by state agencies, federal programs, and private organizations. Key types of grants available in Arkansas include:

Startup Grants

Startup grants in Arkansas are designed to assist new businesses in covering their initial costs and getting off the ground. Programs like the Innovate Arkansas Startup Grant focus on technology-based startups, providing both funding and mentorship to help new businesses thrive.

Expansion Grants

Expansion grants, such as those provided by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), aim to help existing businesses grow and expand their operations. These grants can provide the necessary funds to take your business to the next level, especially if you’re looking to increase production capacity or enter new markets.

Industry-Specific Grants

Targeted towards businesses operating within specific sectors such as technology, agriculture, or healthcare, these grants support industry innovation and development. For example, the USDA Rural Business Development Grant supports agricultural businesses and rural enterprises, fostering growth in these vital areas of Arkansas’s economy.

Community Development Grants

Community development grants focus on businesses that contribute to community development and job creation, helping to strengthen local economies and improve quality of life. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in Arkansas provides funding for projects that benefit low-to-moderate income communities, often supporting small businesses that create local jobs and provide essential services.

Identifying and Applying for Grants in Arkansas

To successfully identify and apply for grants in Arkansas, business owners should follow a series of strategic steps:

  • Research Available Grants: Utilize resources like the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's website and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) to find relevant grants that match your business needs.
  • Understand Eligibility Requirements: Carefully read through the eligibility criteria for each grant to ensure your business qualifies before proceeding with the application.
  • Prepare Required Documentation: Gather all necessary documents, including business plans, financial statements, and project proposals, to support your application.
  • Submit Applications: Follow the application guidelines meticulously, ensuring all information is accurate and submitted before the deadline.

Table of Small Business Grants in Arkansas

Program/Grant Name Description Target Audience Application Period Granting Authority
Arkansas Small Business Grant Provides funding for small business startups and expansions. New and existing small businesses Varies annually Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Innovate Arkansas Startup Grant Supports technology-focused startups in Arkansas. Tech startups Rolling application Innovate Arkansas
Rural Business Development Grant Aims to develop and support rural businesses. Rural-based small businesses Varies USDA Rural Development
Arkansas Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program Offers grants to minority-owned businesses. Minority-owned small businesses Open year-round Arkansas Economic Development Commission
SBA Microloan Program Provides small, short-term loans and grants for small businesses. All small businesses Rolling application U.S. Small Business Administration



Local Grants in Specific Arkansas Cities

Little Rock

1. Little Rock Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

The City of Little Rock offers Community Development Block Grants to support projects that benefit low- and moderate-income residents. These grants are federally funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and can be used for a variety of purposes, including housing rehabilitation, public facilities improvements, and public services.

2. Small Business Emergency Assistance Program

This grant program was initiated to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by emergencies, including natural disasters and economic downturns. Eligible businesses can use these funds to cover operating expenses, payroll, and other critical needs.

3. Creative Corridor Incentive Program

This grant supports arts and culture organizations within the Creative Corridor in downtown Little Rock. It aims to stimulate economic growth and cultural development by funding projects that enhance the creative community.


1. Fayetteville Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Fayetteville also receives CDBG funds from HUD. These grants focus on housing, public services, and infrastructure improvements. Specific projects funded include affordable housing developments, youth programs, and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

2. Outdoor Refreshment Area (ORA) Grant

This grant aims to enhance the outdoor dining and entertainment experience in Fayetteville. Funds can be used by local businesses to improve outdoor seating areas, install new signage, and create more vibrant public spaces.

3. Sustainability Grant Program

The Sustainability Grant Program provides funding for projects that promote environmental sustainability within the city. This includes energy efficiency upgrades, waste reduction initiatives, and green infrastructure projects.

Fort Smith

1. Fort Smith Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Fort Smith’s CDBG program addresses community needs such as housing, economic development, and public facilities. Funds have been used for projects like housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements, and services for the homeless.

2. Downtown Revitalization Grant

This grant is aimed at improving the downtown Fort Smith area. It provides funds for building renovations, façade improvements, and streetscape enhancements to attract more visitors and businesses to the area.

3. Economic Development Grant

This grant supports new and expanding businesses in Fort Smith. It offers financial assistance for site development, equipment purchases, and job training programs, aiming to boost the local economy and create jobs.


1. Jonesboro Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Jonesboro utilizes CDBG funds to support affordable housing, community services, and public facility improvements. Projects include housing repairs for low-income families, senior services, and upgrades to public parks.

2. Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce Grants

These grants support local businesses and economic development initiatives. Funds can be used for business expansion, marketing efforts, and workforce development programs.

3. Innovation Grant

This grant is targeted at startups and innovative projects within Jonesboro. It provides seed funding to help entrepreneurs develop new products, services, or technologies that have the potential to generate economic growth.


1. Conway Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Similar to other cities, Conway receives CDBG funds to support community development projects. These grants focus on housing, infrastructure, and public services for low- and moderate-income residents.

2. Downtown Conway Improvement Grant

This grant encourages the revitalization of downtown Conway by funding building renovations, historic preservation projects, and public space enhancements. The goal is to make downtown a more attractive destination for residents and visitors.

3. Entrepreneurial Development Grant

The Entrepreneurial Development Grant supports local startups and small businesses. It provides funding for business planning, capital expenses, and other needs that help new businesses grow and succeed.


1. Springdale Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Springdale’s CDBG program focuses on housing, community services, and public infrastructure. Projects funded include housing rehabilitation, senior services, and improvements to community centers and parks.

2. Business Retention and Expansion Grant

This grant program aims to support existing businesses in Springdale by providing funds for expansion projects, modernization efforts, and employee training programs. The goal is to help local businesses thrive and remain competitive.

3. Arts and Culture Grant

The Arts and Culture Grant supports projects that enhance the cultural landscape of Springdale. Funds are available for public art installations, cultural events, and programs that promote the arts within the community.

Additional Insights

Many grants in Arkansas also focus on innovation and sustainability. Staying updated on new grants and changing eligibility criteria through state business support websites and local business news can provide a competitive edge. Networking with other business owners and joining local business associations can also be beneficial in discovering new grant opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Arkansas cities offer a variety of local grants aimed at community development, economic growth, and cultural enrichment. These grants are essential tools for supporting low- and moderate-income residents, revitalizing downtown areas, fostering new businesses, and promoting sustainability. For those interested in applying for these grants, it is important to check the specific eligibility criteria and application deadlines for each program.Navigating the landscape of small business grants in Arkansas can be challenging but ultimately rewarding. By conducting thorough research, following a meticulous application process, and understanding the specific requirements of each grant, you can significantly increase your chances of securing the funding necessary to grow your business.

FAQs on Small Business Grants in Arkansas

What types of businesses are eligible for grants in Arkansas? Businesses across various sectors, including technology, agriculture, healthcare, and community development, may be eligible for grants.

How can I find available grants in Arkansas? You can find available grants by researching online, consulting state websites, and contacting business support organizations.

Are there grants specifically for minority-owned businesses? Yes, the Arkansas Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program offers grants specifically for minority-owned businesses.

Can startups apply for grants in Arkansas? Absolutely, several grants such as the Innovate Arkansas Startup Grant are specifically available for startups.

Application Process

The application process for grants typically involves several key steps:

  • Researching grants and ensuring eligibility: Identifying relevant grants and confirming that your business meets the eligibility requirements.
  • Gathering necessary documents: Compiling all required documentation such as business plans, financial statements, and project proposals.
  • Writing and submitting a detailed proposal: Creating a comprehensive and persuasive application that clearly outlines your business goals and how the grant will help achieve them.
  • Following up after submission: Keeping track of your application status and being prepared to provide any additional information if requested.

Tips for a Successful Application

  • Be Thorough and Precise: Ensure all required information and documents are included in your application to avoid delays or disqualification.
  • Meet Deadlines: Always submit your application before the deadline to ensure it is considered.
  • Highlight Impact: Clearly explain how the grant will benefit not only your business but also the community or industry at large.
  • Seek Feedback: Have a mentor or advisor review your application to provide constructive feedback and identify any areas for improvement.

After Submission

After submitting your grant application:

  • Follow Up: Periodically check the status of your application to stay informed.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Some grants may require an interview or additional information, so be prepared to discuss your proposal in more detail.
  • Be Patient: The review process can take time, so practice patience and maintain a proactive approach to any follow-up requests.

Getting Support

If you need assistance with your grant application, there are numerous resources available:

How Scout Can Help You Win Grants/Incentives

Scout provides expert guidance to businesses seeking grants, helping them identify suitable opportunities, prepare compelling applications, and comply with grant requirements. With a deep understanding of the grant landscape in Kansas, Scout can streamline the application process and increase the chances of success. Reach out to Scout to learn more and maximize your funding opportunities.