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UAPB receives $295,000 grant expanding economic development and business support in Pine Bluff and Delta Region



PINE BLUFF, Ark.  – The Economic Research Development Center (ERDC) at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) has been awarded $295,000 by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to expand resources for training and technical support of small business and community-based organizations in Jefferson and surrounding counties.

The grant enables the University to expand its business development services and offer enhanced economic development programs in Pine Bluff and the Delta Region including Jefferson, Chicot, Desha, Lincoln, and Drew counties. This grant will be used to hire ERDC staff who will provide training and technical assistance to small businesses. The University plans to hire an Executive Director and a staff person, which will allow the office to be open full-time, establish programs, and expand services.

According to UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander, the award comes at an opportune time for the ERDC. “This award will allow us to expand the direct resources available to the community and small businesses in the region,” Alexander said. “We are excited about this opportunity to play a significant role in increasing economic development in the region.”

Established in 1988, ERDC has assisted more than 3,000 businesses, trained over 300 individuals, and created approximately 500 jobs. As an 1890 institution, UAPB serves the State of Arkansas and the nation with a focus on teaching, research, service, and outreach. The institution’s economic development outreach mission efforts are led primarily through the Economic Research and Development Center (ERDC), a unit in the Division of Institutional Advancement and Development under the leadership of Vice Chancellor George Cotton.

“It’s important to continue our efforts to support local entrepreneurship,” said Cotton. “They are the lifeblood of the Delta. Their success is key to providing a better quality of life for the communities they serve.” In observance of CDC advisories concerning COVID-19 and large gatherings, a press conference will be planned at a later date.