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Simmons Bank Commits $1.25M to Southern Bancorp’s Minority Business Empowerment Program

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Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff and Southern Bancorp Community Partners announced an agreement for a 10-year, $1.25 million investment that will support Southern Bancorp’s Minority Business Empowerment Program, a business technical assistance program and loan fund supporting minority entrepreneurs in central Arkansas.

The 12-week program, launched in 2021, is led by industry experts and includes both group learning and one-on-one sessions.

The program centers around seven key business disciplines: sales and operations; financial management and accounting; human resources; marketing and communications; management and leadership; business growth strategies; and digital technology integration.

The program aims to empower participants to seek funding to support their business operations, growth and scalability.

“Working with Southern Bancorp helps us make a bigger impact on small businesses in their early stages of development, and that is critical to the success of minority entrepreneurs,” George Makris Jr., executive chair of Simmons Bank, said in a statement. “Small businesses are the backbone of a strong economy and this investment represents a long-term commitment to provide access to low-cost capital that will drive new opportunities for jobs, new opportunities for innovation and new opportunities for continued economic growth across central Arkansas.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, minority entrepreneurs generate nearly $2 trillion in revenue each year.

Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc., said, “This investment enables us to provide low-cost capital solutions and technical support that advances economic empowerment and prosperity where it’s needed the most.”


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