The Arkansas Development Authority authorized the U.S. Partnership for State Investment (USPSI) to be the Designated Investor Group for the Arkansas Institutional Fund (AIF). The AIF is authorized to invest in professionally managed venture capital funds that in turn make risk capital more accessible to promising Arkansas firms.
Existing Business Resources Program:
AEDC's Existing Business Program provides intensive pre-employment training for Arkansas workers to meet the increasing technical employment needs of the state's new and expanding businesses.
Additionally, financial assistance to Arkansas's businesses and eligible consortia of businesses for upgrading the skills of existing workers is available. Skills upgrade training is defined as instruction conducted in a classroom environment at a work site, an educational institution or a neutral location that provides an existing, full-time employee with the new skills necessary to enhance productivity, improve performance and/or retain employment.
Eligible businesses include manufacturers in NAICS codes 31-33, or eligible computer firms with no public retail sales that derive at least 75 percent of their revenue from out-of-state sales, or businesses primarily engaged in commercial physical and biological research as defined by NAICS code 541710.
Financial assistance is available in two forms: For businesses or consortia that use state-supported educational institutions for eligible training, grant amounts shall be the lesser of the amount paid for such training or the instructional hourly rate established by the governing council, not to exceed $80 per instructional hour times the number of instructional hours delivered. Tax credits are available to eligible businesses that conduct internal training using business trainers or consultants. Tax credits cannot exceed $25 per instructional hour. Businesses may not receive grants and credits for the same training.
The Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP)
EWTP provides financial assistance to Arkansas's businesses and eligible consortia of businesses upgrading the skills of the existing workforce. Skills upgrade training is instruction conducted in a classroom environment at a work site, an educational institution or a neutral location, that provides an existing, full-time employee with the new skills necessary to enhance productivity, improve performance and/or retain employment.
- 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)
The following companies must derive at least 75 percent of sales revenue from out of state:
- Computer Firms
- Intermodal Facility or Distribution Center
- Office Sector (non-retail business)
- Scientific & Technical Services
- Motion Picture Production
- Eligible Employees
Training is for full-time, permanent employees who work at least 30 hours a week and are subject to Arkansas's personal income tax.
Skills Upgrade Training
The training helps a company and its employees to:
- Adapt to new or altered technologies of management and supervisory systems, continuous improvement or production needs
- Acquire the new skills needed to remain competitive, productive and economically viable
Seed Capital Investment Fund:
Managed by the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA), The Seed Capital Investment Program (SCIP) fosters the development of innovative technology-based businesses and projects that will stimulate economic growth and industrial competitiveness in Arkansas. The SCIP can provide working capital to help support the initial capitalization or expansion of technology-based companies located in Arkansas. The program is a $1.9 million revolving investment fund that can provide working capital up to $500,000 of the company's total financing needs. Investments made by the SCIP fund can be repaid through a variety of instruments, including direct loans, participations and royalties.
Risk Capital Matching Fund:
The Arkansas Risk Capital Matching Fund was established as a separate fund within the Venture Capital Investment Trust and contains two separate accounts: the Technology Validation Account and the Enterprise Development Account. Funds in the Technology Validation Account are available for investment in the technology validation process for the purpose of assisting very early stage Technology-based Enterprises. Funds in the Enterprise Development Account are available for investment in early stage Technology-based Enterprises for the purpose of assisting such enterprises in augmenting the investments made or proposed to be made from angel investors and other individual or institutional investors, where milestones for further development of such enterprises are set forth in an established business plan to be approved by the fund manager and the review committee.
Venture capital financing is available from several local groups:
• Arkansas Development Finance Authority
• Diamond State Ventures I and II
• Stephens Inc.
• Enterprise Corporation of the Delta
• Southern Financial Partners
Performance-Based Incentive Programs (Consolidated Incentive Act of 2003)
The program offers a state income tax credit for job creation based on the payroll of the new employees hired as a result of the project.