AEDC division recognizes six companies, agencies for contributions to small, minority business

 September 12, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
For Media Inquiries:
Brandi Hinkle – Director of Communications
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
501-519-7382 mobile or [email protected] 

AEDC division recognizes six companies, agencies for contributions to small, minority business

For the first time, several companies and government entities were recognized for their efforts to promote the state’s minority and women-owned businesses as part of the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise “matchmaking event” held today in Little Rock.

The annual program provides one-on-one meetings between certified vendors and buyers from state and federal agencies, universities and private companies, small business success stories told by business owners, as well as marketing, “doing business with the state,” and other helpful workshops. The free event is hosted by Arkansas Economic Development Commission and sponsored in part by Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Those recognized by category were –

  • State Agency of the Year – Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
  • University of the Year – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Access to Capital Award – Southern Bancorp
  • Certified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Firm of the Year – Integrity Office Solutions Inc.
  • Certified Woman-Owned Business of the Year – Cornerstone Construction
  • Certified Minority Firm of the Year – Goddess Products

The Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise division within AEDC – a part of the Department of Commerce – promotes the growth and sustainability of such businesses by providing real-world technical and professional assistance, state vendor certification, and opportunities for networking and contracting with AEDC partners in state and federal government, higher education, lending institutions and the private sector.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and AEDC officials announced in August 2017 the state’s Small and Minority Business Program mission would be expanded to include women-owned businesses and be renamed the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise by Act 1080 of 2017. New annual spending targets for State of Arkansas were also set at that time at eight percent for minority businesses, five percent for women-owned and two percent for service-disabled veterans in construction, goods and services, totaling 15 percent for vendors in those categories.

The State Agency of the Year award is presented to a state agency whose business practices have had a significant impact on the growth and development of minority and/or women-owned firms and has demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing minority or women-owned businesses in Arkansas by spending at least 15 percent of the agency’s discretionary budget with Arkansas minority and/or women-owned businesses. The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism (ADPHT) serves as the steward of the state’s cultural, historic and natural resources. The work of professionals in three divisions, Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism, results in enhanced quality of life, improved understanding of our state’s heritage, community revitalization and economic growth.

2019 – Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

The University of the Year award is presented to a college or university that has demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing minority or women-owned businesses in Arkansas by spending at least 15 percent of the college’s or university’s discretionary budget with Arkansas minority or women-owned businesses. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was created in 1873 by the State Legislature. UAPB is the second oldest public university in Arkansas, the only public historically black institution in Arkansas, and one of only 19 land-grant institutions in the country. The diverse student population consists of more than 2,500 students from 37 states and 25 countries.

2019 - University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The Access to Capital award is presented to an organization in Arkansas that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the financial community by providing traditional and/or alternative working or investment capital to minority and/or women-owned firms. Southern Bancorp Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; were founded in 1986 by then Gov. Bill Clinton, former Walmart Chair Rob Walton, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three entities are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.4 billion in assets, 65,000 customers and 47 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi, Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities.

2019 – Southern Bancorp

The Certified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Firm of the Year is presented to a service disabled veteran-owned business enterprise that has success in their industry that has led to a significant increase in job growth and customer satisfaction. Integrity Office Solutions Incorporated is an Arkansas Family Owned Small Business incorporated in 2008.  Integrity Office Solutions was opened with the express purpose of bringing a high level of personal and business Integrity to Arkansas, government and businesses in the area of print devices and supplies. The company currently does business with about 25 Arkansas agencies, departments and schools.

2019 – Integrity Office Solutions Inc.

The Certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise of the Year is presented to an Arkansas woman-owned or operated business enterprise that has exceeded industry standards and achieved phenomenal business success leading to significant growth and job creation, while showing a commitment to social responsibility and strong community involvement. Cornerstone Construction of Russellville Inc. is a commercial construction company with a growing utility division. Officially formed in 2010 and based in Russellville, the company specializes as a General Contractor on commercial construction projects, including tenant buildouts of 11 Planet Fitness Gyms throughout Arkansas, new construction on Mt. Nebo for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and two jobs nearing completion at Fort Chaffee.

2019 – Cornerstone Construction

The Certified Minority Firm of the Year is presented to a minority business enterprise owned or controlled by the following person or group of persons – African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander – that has exceeded industry standards and achieved phenomenal business success leading to significant growth and job creation while showing a commitment to social responsibility and strong community involvement. Goddess Products Inc. is a certified woman owned, minority business located in the HubZone. The company has served the state, federal and private sector since 2006. Customers can choose from over 130,000 items ranging from office supplies, office furniture, computer supplies, school supplies, safety, industrial supplies, janitorial supplies, and LED lighting.

2019 – Goddess Products

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About the Arkansas Economic Development Commission
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. For more information, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com.

This press release and others can be found online at www.ArkansasEDC.com/news-events/newsroom

2019 Matchmaker Award Recipients Back to the News Room
CATEGORY:

Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise, News, Special Announcements

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