The World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers, an affiliate of the University of Arkansas, has received a $600,000 federal grant to expand its outreach services to strengthen the state’s economy, the university announced Monday.
The university became a member of the World Trade Centers Association in October 2006 and World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers in January 2007. The global association includes 300 World Trade Centers in nearly 100 countries.
The three-year, $597,116 grant is from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It will allow WTC Arkansas staff to accompany Arkansas businesses on foreign sales trips and trade missions and cover other related costs that include business-to-business meetings and services through the Gold Key global trade partnership program of the Commerce Department, according to a UA news release.
"We are extremely pleased to be awarded this Economic Development Administration grant, which will assist Arkansas companies explore and expand export markets," said Dan Hendrix, president and chief executive officer of World Trade Center Arkansas, in the news release. "More than 50,000 total jobs in all sectors are supported by exports in Arkansas, including more than 14 percent of manufacturing jobs. Nearly 80 percent of Arkansas exporters are small businesses, which can and will benefit from this grant."
The key mission of World Trade Center Arkansas is to increase Arkansas-based jobs through trade and encourage strong global partnerships that will grow the state’s businesses, manufacturers, agricultural producers, services and emerging technologies.
The WTC funding is part of seven grants totaling $7.5 million the Economic Development Administration is making to organizations in the state to finance projects that will create jobs, promote innovation, increase resiliency to natural disasters and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth, according to the UA.
U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Mark Pryor joined U.S. Reps. Steve Womack and Tim Griffin in officially announcing the grants.
"Infrastructure is the key to economic development and growth throughout Arkansas," said Boozman, who helped start World Trade Center Arkansas. "These grants will help attract businesses to the region, foster growth for existing companies and provide jobs for hardworking Arkansans by expanding and improving infrastructure in our communities."