The Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance and World Trade Center Arkansas have teamed to promote the federal grant funding that's available to help the state's aerospace and defense companies attend national and international trade shows.
World Trade Center Arkansas administers the funding, which is offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration's State Trade Expansion Program for export initiatives.
Chad Causey, AADA executive director, said companies can attend a trade show and then apply for partial reimbursement. In the past, the program has covered about 40% of the applicant's travel costs.
Rose Aircraft Services, ARCO Silicone and Galley Support Innovations, among others, have been grant recipients.
The cost of an exhibit or admission to the trade show is ineligible for reimbursement, but transportation and lodging are. Causey said the two groups are making a more concerted effort this year to send Arkansas companies to the shows they'll most benefit from.
"So what we've done with them is work to target access to those grant funds for aerospace and defense shows, both in North America and around the world. It's important for Arkansas companies to take their products and services to the world," Causey said. "Our Arkansas may be small, but I would put the skill and talent of our workforce and our aerospace and defense companies up against anybody in the world."
In 2020 and 2021, the grant funding will help the state's aerospace and defense companies participate in Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany; Farnborough Air Show in England; NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Florida; Paris Air Show in France; and Tinker Primes Show in Oklahoma.
Boon Tan, senior director of global trade strategy at World Trade Center Arkansas, said that aerospace and defense is Arkansas' largest export.
"With the fast-growing maintenance, repair and operations industry in Southeast Asia, I foresee a lot of opportunities for our state's companies," he said.