Arkansas Among Top States for Business

 December 06, 2017

Arkansas is quickly becoming known as one of the nation’s top business-friendly states. Area Development, an online and print publication for corporate site selectors and facility planners, ranked Arkansas number 16 on its 2017 Top States for Doing Business list

Overall rankings are based on a number of factors, and Arkansas was listed in the top 10 for both the Business Incentives Programs and Most Improved Economic Development Policies categories.

The article stated, “… what companies really want (and what might even tip the balance) is a state that is a willing and proactive partner. A state that will take the time to understand each company’s unique set of needs, and go above and beyond to deliver solutions (and even innovate). Many companies aren’t thinking short-term, either — they want a long-term partner that will help them negotiate the future, whatever it might bring.”

Top states, like Arkansas, commit to adding value as an economic development leader and problem-solver. Arkansas offers a variety of business incentives, which can be found here.

Beyond business incentives, many examples demonstrate Arkansas is a business-friendly state willing to be creative and innovative.

“One of my priorities was to streamline the start-up, relocation and expansion process for business,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “which we tackled by removing administrative and regulatory obstacles that industry and business often consider unnecessarily burdensome. With economic stability and economic development as two of my goals, I put forth four initiatives that would make business in Arkansas easier to conduct.”

Those efforts include lowering income-tax rates for lower- and middle-class Arkansans; improving job-skill training to strengthen the state’s workforce and make it more attractive to companies; becoming the first state in the nation to require high schools to offer courses in computer science; and removing burdensome regulations on business start-up and expansion.

“Our state has implemented a workforce initiative that includes private-public partnerships with industries, two-year colleges, technical schools and high schools through the ArFuture Grants," Governor Hutchinson said. “This initiative bolsters our state's workforce by covering all tuition and mandatory fees at two-year colleges and technical schools for students pursuing a variety of in-demand fields like computer science and welding. This program will enable us to increase access to higher education for Arkansans, while also ensuring that we are creating a talent pool that is specifically tailored to the demands of Arkansas industry.”

Arkansas is among the top five states in the nation to attract foreign direct investment during the past five years. Several high-profile Chinese companies have recently announced plans to locate or expand in the state, including Sun Paper (250 new jobs in Clark County), Tianyuan Garments (400 new jobs in Little Rock) and Pet Won Pet Products (70 new jobs in Danville).

Earlier this year, Sediver, a French company that manufactures toughened-glass insulators for high-voltage power lines, opened a plant in West Helena. Investors in the timber industry have reopened a sawmill in Glenwood that closed in 2010.

Arkansas also is quickly developing a reputation as a technology hub. Elyxor, a software engineering company, considered locating in major markets such as Boston and Seattle, but ultimately chose North Little Rock, Arkansas, because of the talent of the local workforce.

“We have made great strides,” Governor Hutchinson said.

These new rankings from Area Development show it.