Small businesses get a leg up through ASU's Delta Center

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For years, Jonesboro has been known as the Hub of Northeast Arkansas, with steady growth both residentially and commercially. The Delta Center for Economic Development on the campus of Arkansas State University aims to make sure the growth continues, especially for the small businesses in Region 8.

Ensuring small businesses succeed is something the Delta Center has worked on for years.

"We try to identify what their needs might be and then identify within the university or in the private sector to help meet those needs," Executive Director, Alan McVey told Region 8 News.

McVey explained many of the small businesses they've assisted have got their footing at the Incubator located on Krueger Drive.

"For a number of years, the Delta Center has operated more of a traditional-type business incubator to support business startups that would require office space, maybe some light manufacturing space," he explained.

However, more recently, they've taken it a step further.

"To fill in a niche area that's not currently being served and that's a wet lab or a technology based incubator program," McVey explained.

The technology-based incubator program, called the Catalyst, serves those fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is also based on ASU's campus, right down the road from the Delta Center at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute.

"We're beginning to move some companies into that space and into a more commercial market," McVey explained.

He told Region 8 News the lab space they have in the Catalyst could theoretically house 19 different start up companies if need be.

A good thing for them, as McVey said they're seeing more people looking to entrepreneurship.

"People are starting to think more creatively especially with a job market, nationally, that's still somewhat fragile and somewhat struggling," he said.

McVey said knowing the Delta Center is there to help those in their small business ventures is rewarding.

"What you realize very quickly is that those are individuals, they're payrolls, they're supporting families, they're supporting purchases within our community, and they're creating the creation of wealth within our community," he said.

McVey said one of their biggest success stories from their Incubator is Rural Sourcing, now located on Main Street in Jonesboro. They've also assisted companies like Unilever, Nordex and Nestle as a starting off point for their business.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.