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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $8.2 Million in CARES Act Funding to Capitalize Revolving Loan Funds to Help Small Businesses Across Arkansas Respond to Coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $8.2 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to capitalize and administer Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) that will provide critical gap financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic across Arkansas.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to support our nation’s economy following the impacts of COVID-19 through the CARES Act,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These investments will provide small businesses across Arkansas with the necessary capital to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and, in turn, create a stronger and more resilient state economy for the future.”

“These investments come at a crucial time to help Arkansas’ and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and EDA is pleased to invest these CARES Act funds so that Arkansas businesses have access to capital to respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Our small businesses have shown remarkable resilience during this challenging time,” said Senator John Boozman. “In navigating this crisis, it’s important to ensure they have the ability to revitalize operations, restore or create jobs and continue vital activity that underpins regional economies. I applaud the EDA and the Trump administration for providing Arkansas small businesses and entrepreneurs with needed capital to spur economic recovery and growth.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the economy, and this targeted relief will provide Arkansas’s small businesses with resources to accelerate recovery and achieve financial stability,” said Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03). “With these investments, CARES Act funding is being directed to help Main Street businesses keep their doors open, employees on the payroll, and customers safe. I thank the Trump Administration for prioritizing economic resiliency and ensuring that much-needed aid continues to reach communities throughout the Third District and Natural State.”

“President Trump’s continued commitment to helping businesses recover from the effects of COVID-19 is absolutely essential,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “These grants from the CARES Act will go a long way in equipping small businesses across my district with the necessary resources to stay open and retain their employees. I’m grateful for the administration’s support.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • East Arkansas Planning & Development District, Jonesboro, Arkansas, will receive a $2.4 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF to provide loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Clay, Randolph, Greene, Lawrence, Craighead, Mississippi, Poinsett, Cross, St. Francis, Crittenden, Lee, and Phillips counties.
  • Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will receive a $2.1 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF to provide loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson and Lincoln counties.
  • White River Planning & Development District, Inc., Batesville, Arkansas, will receive a $1.6 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF that will provide loans to coronavirus-impacted businesses in Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, White and Woodruff counties to help them respond to and recover from the pandemic.
  • Central Arkansas Planning & Development District, Lonoke, Arkansas, will receive a $1 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF that will provide loans to coronavirus-impacted businesses in Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski, and Saline counties with loans to help them respond to and recover from the pandemic.
  • West Central Arkansas Planning & Development District, Hot Springs, Arkansas, will receive a $550,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF to provide gap financing to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Clark, Conway, Garland, Hot Spring, Johnson, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Pope, and Yell counties.
  • FORGE Inc., Huntsville, Arkansas, will receive a $550,000 EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to capitalize and administer an RLF that will provide loans to coronavirus-impacted businesses in Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy, and Washington counties.

These current EDA RLF grantees are some of the more than 850 existing, high-performing EDA RLF, Economic Development District, University Center, and Tribal grant recipients invited to apply for supplemental funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 7, Secretary Ross announced that EDA is accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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