COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

Success Stories

During a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Dr. Sommer was exposed to numerous medical issues his suburban medical residency didn’t contain. Luckily, Dr. Sommer had access to the Army’s telemedicine infrastructure which allowed him to consult with colleagues around the world to provide better care to his patients on the battlefield. Upon his return home, his first civilian job as a physician landed him in rural areas of North Carolina. While in North Carolina, he saw numerous challenges that he experienced in Afghanistan, but this time, there was no telemedicine infrastructure to confer with experts outside of the local area. He began studying, reading, and then writing about the challenges of care in rural America and the role of telemedicine and decided that he wanted to develop a solution to better serve rural America through telemedicine. Eventually he set out to create a telemedicine platform specifically designed by a physician that... Read More


April Broderick grew up in her father’s fire extinguisher company starting at the lowest rung on the job ladder at A & A Fire and Safety Company in Arkansas. Some 14 years later in 2014, all that changed when April became the majority owner. At the helm, April made the strategic decision to diversify the company’s business interests to include federal government contracts. She soon learned that she needed training and certification to be successful in the federal arena. April also learned that to be competitive as a woman in an industry dominated by men, she would have to overcome many barriers to keep her business solvent.

As April Broderick continued to lead the business and pursue new contracts, she worked with the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center (APAC) to learn about federal contracting opportunities. The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center also provided support for their business website. Later with continued assistance... Read More

Arkansas Small Business Success Brooks Tipton & Electric Ghost




Brooks Tipton was a construction worker who was playing part-time gigs as a musician in 2008. Then the economy went into the “Great Recession” and like many Americans, he was laid off from his day job. Brooks still had to pay the rent and needed a way to make money. He realized playing in a band in front of small audiences would not generate a sufficient income, so he researched what brings in income for most bands—merchandise sales. 

Another band member taught Brooks screen-printing and through trial and error, the unemployed construction worker began printing T-shirts at home.

He spent $1,000 on his small business startup in 2009 purchasing a small silkscreen press that generated enough income to pay his rent. He was now hooked on being an entrepreneur. In September of that year, Brooks opened Electric Ghost, a silkscreen printing business in Little Rock, Arkansas... Read More

Plant Closing Spurs Job Creation



LaQuita Rainey’s 28 years of experience in the nursing field provided her with a knowledge of customer and market needs. In 2008, a large industrial plant closed in El Dorado, Arkansas, leaving the local economy hurting and hundreds of individuals without jobs. Knowing the growing demand of the nursing field and identifying the need for a business that provided job creation locally spurred Rainey to found Complete Home Care in 2010. 

Rainey first found the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) through Operation Jump Start, a six-week training course hosted by the center. After completing the training, she realized her need for further assistance. She became an AWBC client for one-on-one business consulting and has received assistance with employee management, business accounting, cash flow management and other needs over the last four years. 

Complete Home Care provides medical and non-medical in-home care... Read More