Arkansas is one of the least expensive states to live in, with lower-than-average housing and energy costs. In fact, Arkansas had the third lowest residential electricity prices in the United States at 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour in 2016. The average commute time is a mere 21.4 minutes. Additionally, the state has an overall low cost of doing business and a variety of business incentives. With several growing small and medium cities to choose from, Arkansas offers more opportunities for both employers and employees to stretch their dollars.
Arkansas is home to a number of incubators and accelerator programs helping entrepreneurs turn their startups into viable, high-growth businesses by providing mentorships, connections to investors and direct capital. Attracting tech-centered startups and workers to the state is a priority, and the state has funding and other incentives to foster growth in the industry.
Over the past 50 years, Arkansas has been the birthplace for financial technology disruptors and is home to some of the biggest players in the FinTech sector. Acxiom, ABC Financial and FIS are proof that tech startups can become powerhouses in Arkansas.
In 2017, the Women in Technology Conference in Rogers drew 500 participants as part of the Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit. Keynote speakers and discussion topics included innovation, thought leadership and the opportunities and challenges faced by women in today’s tech workforce. Arkansas is working to make the tech sector more inclusive, because everyone stands to benefit.
In 2015, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson created the Computer Science Initiative, and Arkansas became the first state in the nation to pass a comprehensive law requiring all public and charter high schools to offer computer science courses. Funding for the initiative pays for teacher training and rewarding schools with high performance and enrollment rates in the new courses.
Arkansas was the first state to launch a website dedicated to connecting job seekers with technology-driven jobs within industries across the state. On ArTechJobs.com, companies can create free accounts and immediately post open positions. Job seekers can create personal profiles and upload resumes for free. Finding qualified applicants for tech-based jobs has never been easier.
The tech industry in Arkansas continues to mature as local businesses establish and expand within the state. First Orion, a phone security software company founded in Little Rock is expanding and relocating its global headquarters to North Little Rock.