Staff members from the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at Arkansas Tech University recently met with Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and Community Outreach Coordinator Stan Berry to discuss small businesses in Arkansas and issues that affect them.

"We appreciate the Secretary of State contacting us to learn how his office can be of benefit to the small business sector in Arkansas," said Nathan George, center director for the ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech. "We deal on a grassroots level with prospective entrepreneurs and existing businesses to inform and assist them. Educating entrepreneurs encourages new and better businesses."

The Secretary of State’s Business and Commercial Services Division seeks to educate business owners about their responsibilities and develop an atmosphere of compliance.

"We want to move the government from being oppressive to business into a champion for business," said Martin. "To do this, we need to change the culture of government and challenge agencies to bear the burden of regulatory compliance rather than continue a tradition of adversarial enforcement. The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Centers will be instrumental in our efforts. They’ve been doing this for a while, but we would like to help bring their mentality to all of our state agencies."

The Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office has launched the "Dream It Do It Arkansas" website to help educate citizens on the startup process. Arkansans interested in starting a business can visit the site, answer some questions and get a to-do list for next steps. Help menus contain resource information addressing common questions about business entity, location and employees.

"The tools that the Secretary of State’s office has available are a great help," said George. "We share a common belief that small businesses are the strength of our nation and our state’s economy."

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration through a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business and the Arkansas Tech College of Business, the ASBTDC regional office at Arkansas Tech is part of a statewide network that offers consulting, training and market research to prospective and current business owners.

The ASBTDC regional office at Arkansas Tech is located in Rothwell Hall and serves nine counties: Conway, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Pope, Scott, Sebastian and Yell. For more information, call (479) 356-2067 or visit www.asbtdc.org.