Northwest Arkansas Small Businesses Discuss Federal Regulations
By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate
There are a quarter million small businesses in the state of Arkansas, and more than 99 percent of the state’s firms are small, according to the Office of Advocacy’s 2019 Arkansas Small Business Profile.
The Office of Advocacy recently visited fast-growing Northwest Arkansas to conduct small business forums to help identify federal regulations that are burdening the region’s small companies.
One forum was held in Fayetteville at the offices of Startup Junkie Consulting, where the firm’s leaders and clients shared their regulatory concerns.
They recommended changes in rules governing opportunity zones with the goal of expanding investor participation. They also expressed that opportunity zone regulations are difficult to understand.
Participants also shared the need for rule changes to allow certain foreign students and workers to stay in the United States, primarily those who have skills in data analytics, software development, cybersecurity and other STEM areas. Because shortages exist in these areas, they want to ensure the United States isn’t losing skilled workers and sending them back to their country of origin.
While in Fayetteville, Advocacy also participated in National Veterans Small Business Week by hosting a forum for veteran-owned businesses at the Washington County Veterans Affairs Office. There were several comments about the need for changes in government contracting procedures, including the need for better training of government contracting officers. We also heard suggested changes in rules governing electronic medical records.
We were also honored to address the Rogers Chamber of Commerce and hear members’ concerns about regulation of their small businesses. We also visited the World Trade Center in Rogers to introduce the Office of Advocacy and heard more ideas about regulatory changes.
Northwest Arkansas has a bright future. The tenacious and enthusiastic small business owners and employees that we met in Rogers and Fayetteville are certainly a large part of the reason for the growth the region is experiencing. We look forward to returning to Arkansas soon.
Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at Rhett.Davis@sba.gov.