The Conductor is launching a new business program designed to support rural entrepreneurs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Partnering with Main Street Arkansas, the Conductor will provide technical assistance workshops and individual coaching for entrepreneurs, in addition to creating a rural mentor network. The program will be funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development Grant.
Level Up will be a free program open to entrepreneurs and community leaders in a 10-county radius. These counties include Conway, Perry, Johnson, Lonoke, Logan, Cleburne, Van Buren, Pope, Yell, and White.
“Downtown businesses have been hit especially hard due to COVID-19,” Tiffany Henry, Director of Entrepreneurial Communities at the Conductor, said in a statement. “The generous funding from the USDA allows us to help “Level Up” rural entrepreneurs and communities by providing specialized assistance and support. By distributing recorded content we are also able to overcome infrastructure barriers that are seen in the most underserved communities.”
The program will use the Main Street Four-Point Approach in its technical assistance. The approach focuses on organization, promotion, design and economic vitality, and these points will be used to help entrepreneurs develop strategies for increasing small business activity.
“Partnerships play a crucial role in providing direct, strategic and comprehensive services to small businesses during this critical time,” Main Street Arkansas director Greg Phillips said. “Utilizing Main Street Arkansas’s 36 years of experience supporting and cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit through small businesses in historic downtowns, we are excited to be a partner to the Conductorin implementing “Level Up”. This partnership will jointly enhance and extend technical assistance and small business expertise to rural entrepreneurs across the state.”
Level Up’s first cohort is expected to launch in late fall 2020.