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Developing ‘Job Creators’ (Editorial)

2 min read

Starting a business is a goal for many, but it can be expensive, complicated and intimidating.

Although most Arkansas Business readers are comfortable with big numbers and issues of finance, many smaller potential entrepreneurs aren’t, which is why a couple of programs we’ve written about recently deserve mention and praise.

First, is the Arvest Opportunity Fund, which Assistant Editor Kyle Massey reported on in last week’s issue. The fund provides loans and lines of credit to businesses that don’t quite meet Arvest Bank’s business loan requirements.

In 10 months, the fund has provided $2.2 million in more than 100 loans, often to business owners keeping their steady jobs while striking out on their own, said Hillis Schild, executive director of the non-bank fund. 

“Loan recipients get special handling, including financial education for a year after loans are granted,” Massey wrote. “The idea is to help entrepreneurs and veteran tradespeople get their businesses off the ground and build a credit file good enough to eventually meet Arvest’s traditional business lending standards, she said.”

Jon Lamb’s Arkitchen in Little Rock also works to help those seeking to build a business in the food sector by giving them access to facilities — a commercial kitchen — and providing coaching about launching their own enterprises.

One of the barriers to starting a business can be the high cost of failing at even a small enterprise. Arkitchen offers a low-cost way for aspiring business owners to test the waters without being drowned in debt if their dreams don’t succeed.

Smaller would-be entrepreneurs deserve the chance to become “job creators” too. The Arvest Opportunity Fund and Arkitchen are giving them that chance.

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