The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced that it's restructuring its Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division, a move that will consolidate resources across the agency to "best leverage them in support of small businesses and entrepreneurs."
The new division has three focus areas:
- entrepreneurial ecosystem support
- science and technology
- minority and women-owned businesses
Esperanza Massana-Crane of Little Rock was named director of the division. She has worked for AEDC since 2013, starting as a project manager in the agency's business development team. She was named director of marketing in 2015.
Since 2021, Massana-Crane has been director of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division.
In her new role, Massana-Crane will lead the initiative to consolidate divisions and "put an increased level of focus" on efforts to add value to small business owners and increase entrepreneurial activity in the state, AEDC said in a news release.
Bob Kucheravy will lead science and technology initiatives for the division.
"Entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses are critical to Arkansas’ success," Secretary of Commerce Hugh McDonald said. "Entrepreneurs are creating jobs and new economic opportunities that are foundational for our state’s future. Under the leadership of Esperanza Massana-Crane, AEDC’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division will provide increased focus to help innovators thrive and grow in Arkansas."
Massana-Crane, who is originally from El Salvador, serves on the boards of the Central Arkansas Library System and the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission. In 2022, the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas selected her as its Woman of the Year in Business for its Power of the Purse Awards.
She holds a bachelor’s and master's in business administration from Harding University. She's a member of the 2018 class of Arkansas Business 40 Under 40.
"The state of Arkansas has an amazing network of passionate individuals and organizations that are dedicated to advancing small business and entrepreneurship," Massana-Crane said in the release. "I am excited for our team to help drive and support efforts that will advance the conditions for business creation and development."