Why Bentonville, AR is the Best Place to Start a Business
Bentonville, Arkansas is no Silicon Valley. However, this quaint city in the Ozarks has become a hub for young professionals and tech workers. In 1971, Sam Walton placed Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville. The retailer has since become the largest in the United States, employing around 1.5 million workers. Fast forward to 2020 and the Northwest Arkansas region, including Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale, is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States.
Northwest AR is now bustling with accountants, engineers, lawyers, and marketing professionals to work at Walmart and other supportive services to the retailer. Walmart is in a direct race against Amazon to recruit top talent, so to be reactive to technology and retain changes. The company has spent billions of dollars creating an e-commerce infrastructure and is regularly hiring for product development, supply chain, software engineering, data analytics, and IT jobs at its headquarters.
While Walmart has opened the doors to the growth of Northwest Arkansas, other major firms like Proctor & Gamble, Hershey, and Campbell Soup have also set up shop. Transportation company J.B. Hunt and Tyson Foods also call the region their home. All these companies started small and have grown into international empires. This is a testament to Bentonville being a great place to start a business. But why? What makes Bentonville such a great location?
To persuade some of the top talents in the United States to move to Northwest Arkansas, Walmart has made considerable investments in the area. In 2018 alone, the Walton Family Foundation awarded almost $600 million in grants to Bentonville, and other nearby cities to improve parks and mountain bike trails to make it a premier destination. Alice Walton created the Crystal Bridges American art museum, which is a cultural jewel in the area. In short, the family has invested in Bentonville to make it a desirable community.
As a result, commercial development properties are popping up left and right, and new strip malls line the roads. This revitalization has changed downtown Bentonville to add new apartment complexes, bars, and restaurants.
As a result of these significant investments over the years, and recently making Northwest Arkansas a desirable community, top talent from around the United States is interested in the area. It is affordable and outdoor-centric with comfortable winters. The University of Arkansas is in Fayetteville, not far from Bentonville, so a talent pool of college graduates is close for startups. It is an opportunity to snag inexpensive talent or interns for your business while providing valuable real-world experience for the recent graduate or student.
Small Business and Technology Development Center
To foster creativity and help small businesses thrive, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) through the University of Arkansas is a valuable resource. Industry experts provide one-on-one confidential guidance and consulting to support new businesses in the Northwest Arkansas area. They also offer affordable workshops to help small business owners gain the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed. Topics include increasing sales, raising capital, managing finances, writing a business plan, acquiring market research, and much more.
To further draw new businesses to Bentonville, the government offers significant tax breaks for a set period, which can considerably help any company’s bottom line.
One Advantage Arkansas and features an income tax credit for job creation based on the employee payroll. This income tax credit is earned every year for five years. The new tax credit starts when new employees are hired, and those employees must be Arkansas taxpayers.
ArkPlus is another income tax credit program the gives credits of 10% of the total investment in an expansion project or new location. This incentive is reviewed and granted by the AEDC Executive Director. ArkPlus requires a minimum payroll for new, full-time employees, and a minimum investment. The business must reach this investment within a specific tier within four years from signing the financial incentive.
Create Rebate is a cash rebate system that provides annual cash payments based on the payroll of new, full-time employees. There is a minimum payroll to meet the requirements of the rebate that must be met within 24-months of signing the agreement.
There are numerous other incentives offered by the local government within the following categories:
- Equality Investment
- Investment Incentives
- R&D Credits and Incentives
- Specialized Incentives
- Targeted Business Incentives
The business sector of Bentonville was originally only supported by Walmart. However, as the company exploded with growth, new suppliers and support companies called this area home. The result was Walmart’s ability to beautify the area, improve the infrastructure, and make Bentonville a desirable destination for new talent, and it worked!
Today, Bentonville is an excellent place to start a new business due to:
- Money continually being pumped into the area
- An excellent local and national talent pool
- Government support in developing small businesses
- Extensive tax credits that are getting new companies off the ground
To learn more about the amazing developments in Bentonville and why it is a great place to start a business, contact Simplemachine today! As a small business that followed the process and experienced the growth of this region, they know better than any other business of what to expect!