Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we had an opportunity to chat with Trish Kalbas-Schmidt, Marketing and Training Director for the University of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. She is responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing training and educational activities for small business owners in Northwest Arkansas. Trish also coordinates media relations and marketing efforts on behalf of the SBDC and its’ training seminars in an effort to cultivate lasting relationships with potential supporters such as commercial loan officers, local chambers of commerce, and community professionals.
What does the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center do in Northwest Arkansas?
As part of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center state wide network, we serve new and existing businesses through consulting, training, market research and innovation-based business assistance. Our office serves the following counties: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy, and Washington.
How many businesses do you help each year regionally and state-wide?
In our office we meet with over 250 entrepreneurs each year.
What trends have you seen in small business growth in our area? Are there any specific sectors that seem to be increasing more than others?
The current trend seems to be service based businesses (i.e. food and retail). The technology and healthcare industry are growing at a strong rate.
What challenges or obstacles do you think Northwest Arkansas will face in the coming years to maintain its growth rate, and continue to be a business destination?
Leveraging NWA as a desirable place to do business. We are a diamond in the rough; people don’t realize all this area has to offer. We need to sell/leverage all the incredible resources such as our education, industry and growing cultural experiences, along with the workforce that is available.
What is the best advice you would give to someone wanting to start a business in Northwest Arkansas?
Be prepared. Understand both the risks and rewards that are associated with owning your own business. Leverage the great resources that are available to you to learn as much as possible before moving forward with the process.
Trish, thank you for taking time to chat with us this week! We are very grateful for your insight and all you do the the Northwest Arkansas community!