ARKANSAS, USA — The Arkansas Ready for Business grant program was unveiled by Governor Asa Hutchinson Wednesday, April 29.
The purpose of the grant program is to help a wide variety of businesses that will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks and months.
The $15 million in grants will be distributed by the Arkansas Department of Commerce. The funding is capped at $100,000 per grant and is open to all business sectors.
Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said the grants will help build consumer confidence in businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Consumer] confidence means they feel safe to go out. We wanted to make sure that we could help businesses mitigate that risk and that loss. … If you think of these restaurants who may have been closed for a month or longer, they’re going to need to go through a deep cleaning process, they are going to need to have thermometers to be able to scan their employees, to go through all the things to make sure they are meeting the health guidelines that have been set forth,” Preston said.
Applications should be available starting Wednesday (April 29) at 5 p.m. on the AEDC website.
Steuart Walton is the chairman of the Arkansas economic recovery task force, which gave input on the grant program.
"Some types of activities will take longer than others to normalize," Walton said Wednesday. "Arkansans I belive have an independent streak unlike just about any other state, I believe. And it doesn't really matter if you're from the northern part of the state or the south part of the state or central part of the state, it's a trait that runs through our state and culture. And I think it breeds some of that entrepreneurial spirit that the state has in spades in my view."