#31 Arkansas

From the Governor

“In Arkansas, we have our natural beauty, our natural resources and our solid record of economic growth. But our most important selling point is the people of Arkansas. Without exception, the CEOs who have chosen to do business in Arkansas talk about the strength of our workforce.” —Gov. Asa Hutchinson

A Growing Magnet for FDI

As of December 2018, there were nearly 300 foreign- owned companies operating in Arkansas, ranging from manufacturing and technology to service providers. The top three countries contributing investments in the state were Japan, Germany and Ireland. Manufacturing remains a top sector, and financial services is seeing growth. Little Rock- headquartered Bank OZK is now the largest construction lender in the country, with more than 3,000 employees and 250 locations in 10 states. Homegrown fintech company FIS has also experienced strong growth, and now has annual revenues of more than $8.7 billion and 52,000 employees around the world.

Key Contacts

Economic Development Commission

Mike Preston, Executive Director
900 West Capitol Avenue Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201
[email protected]

Key Incentives

Advantage Arkansas: Offers a state income tax credit for the creation of jobs with wages equal to or above the lowest county average hourly wage.

ArkPlus: Offers state income tax credits of up to 10% of the total investment of a new location or expansion for projects that meet the threshold.

Tax Back: Provides sales and use tax refunded on the purchase of building materials, machinery and equipment to eligible businesses.

Equity Investment Tax Credit: Discretionary income tax credit of up to 33.3% of amount invested for tech- based businesses offering wages above state or county averages.

Create Rebate: Discretionary incentive that provides annual cash payments based on a company’s annual payroll for new, full-time, permanent employees.

Targeted Business Incentives: Offers specialized incentives, including tax refunds and transferable credits, to help knowledge-based startups.


Arkansas Economic Development Commission: arkansasedc.com

Arkansas Economic Developers Chamber Executives: aedce.org

Association of Arkansas Development Organizations: arkansaseconomicregions.org

Highlighted Program or Initiative

In early 2019, Plug and Play announced plans to open a supply chain and logistics accelerator program in Northwest Arkansas. The initiative, whose founding partners include Walmart, Tyson Foods and JB Hunt, will bring innovative startups from around the world to build up the region’s robust innovation ecosystem.

Big Deals

  • Big River Steel announced in June 2018 a $1.2 billion expansion of its facility in Osceola.
  • CoorsTek Inc. announced in March 2019 a $26 million expansion of its manufacturing facility in Benton.
  • CZ-USA, the U.S.-based affiliate of a Czech firearms manufacturer, announced in April 2019 a $90 million investment to locate its North American headquarters and build a manufacturing facility at the Port of Little Rock.
  • SupplyPike announced in May 2019 a new location and 180 new jobs over the next five years at a facility in Fayetteville.
  • Lockheed Martin announced in June 2019 a $142 million expansion and 326 new jobs over the next few years at its center of excellence in Camden.

Big Companies

Five Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the state:

Tyson Foods
Murphy USA
J.B. Hunt Transport Services

C-Suite Testimonials

“The facility has a long record of precision manufacturing and on-time deliveries, which is the reason we continue to invest in and expand our Camden operations. This expansion will help ensure the availability, affordability and quality of systems we build for our customers around the world.” —Frank St. John, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control

“SupplyPike is incredibly excited to be partnering with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to create new jobs in Arkansas. As the state’s economy continues to grow, attracting and retaining top talent in the region starts with providing diverse and unique job opportunities.” —Greg Kessman, President, SupplyPike

“As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location. The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support clear the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home.” —Bogdan Heczko, Chairman, CZ-USA

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


New Poll: CEOs Find Challenges In Using Customer Data To Drive Innovation

Ability to harness and sort through data for meaningful insights remains a hurdle, many say. “The key is...finding what is actually relevant.”


Sign Up to Receive Chief Executive Magazine

Chief Executive’s publications are designed to help CEOs do their jobs better and run their businesses more effectively. Subscribe here.


CEO Confidence Falls To Decade Low, But Few Predict Recession

Chief Executive’s June survey of 278 U.S. CEOs shows leading confidence indicator now at 5.5/10, the lowest reading in nearly a decade. Majority forecasts worsening conditions in the year ahead, though not a recession.