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Conway County Economic Development Corporation Unveils New SEE FURTHER Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Program

The Conway County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is excited to announce the new SEE FURTHER Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Program, a program designed to assist new outdoor recreation businesses grow and be successful, post-launch. This is the first-of-its-kind program at the local level in Arkansas and CCEDC is hopeful it will be a valuable new resource for outdoor recreation entrepreneurs in Morrilton & the Petit Jean River Valley.

 

View of the Arkansas River from Stout's Point - Petit Jean State Park, courtesy of Arkansas Tourism.


"We are very excited about the new SEE FURTHER Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Program," said Donnie Crain, President & CEO of the Conway County Economic Development Corporation. "The outdoor recreation economy is growing tremendously here in Arkansas and across the United States. We are hopeful that the new SEE FURTHER program – coupled with other outdoor recreation-related efforts here in the Morrilton area like GORP Around the State and the Natural State Initiative Economic Opportunity Zone atop Petit Jean Mountain – will be a great help to new outdoor recreation-related businesses and allow our community to fully enjoy the benefits of this growing sector in terms of jobs, investment, and quality of life."

 

Home to Petit Jean State Park, Morrilton & Conway County has long been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This past year, Morrilton was selected as one of four communities in Arkansas to host the GORP Around the State initiative, a program led by the University of Arkansas’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The initiative, patterned off the very successful Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) in Northwest Arkansas, is designed to assist outdoor recreation entrepreneurs from idea to launch. A number of training events and activities will be taking place locally at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton in upcoming months, to include an Incubator Intensive program scheduled for September. Applications for the Incubator Intensive are open now, with a deadline of July 8, 2024.

 

Additionally, Petit Jean State Park and the area extending 1/8th of a mile from the park’s boundaries was established as a Natural State Initiative Economic Opportunity Zone by the State of Arkansas in 2023. Managed by the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation, the designation allows qualifying businesses within the Opportunity Zone special sales tax and income tax benefits not found outside of the zone.

 

The SEE FURTHER Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Program builds upon these two programs and provides local support for selected, new outdoor recreation-related businesses that choose to locate their new ventures in Morrilton & Conway County.  The program will provide selected applicants with up to $5,000 in seed money to assist with starting their businesses and includes a membership for the business in the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce and a host of other services and training opportunities to help the new businesses not only get off the ground, but thrive.

 

According to Brian Rohlman, Chairman of the Conway County Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors, “We are committed to helping businesses that choose to invest and grow here in Morrilton & Conway County. The SEE FURTHER Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Program exemplifies that commitment and demonstrates our willingness to try new and innovative ways to grow our local economy and positively impact our community.”

 

Outdoor recreation-related businesses that are interested in the SEE FURTHER Outdoor Entrepreneur Program are encouraged to contact Donnie Crain with the Conway County Economic Development Corporation for more information at (501) 354-2393 or via email at donnie@morriltonchamber.com.  The initial application period for the new program will open in September 2024.

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