Winrock International Announces New Online Hub for Opportunity Zone Investment
The Opportunity Arkansas online portal will connect citizens, community leaders, venture capitalists and others to catalyze investments in Arkansas’s 85 Opportunity Zones
Little Rock, Ark. – May 10, 2021 – Winrock International and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission are proud to announce Opportunity Arkansas, Arkansas’s Opportunity Zone Investment Hub. Funded by the Delta Regional Authority and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Opportunity Arkansas builds the capacity of local leaders to develop investable projects that bolster small businesses and revitalize rural communities. Opportunity Arkansas creates an online avenue for citizens, community leaders, investors and others to learn about, search for, and submit Opportunity Zone projects in Arkansas.
“We know from experience that small and rural communities are often overlooked because they lack the information needed to access and attract investment opportunities,” said Winrock International U.S. Programs Senior Director Linsley Kinkade. “Opportunity Arkansas will help address that gap by providing easy, actionable investment information for areas of our state that need it the most.”
The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created Opportunity Zones as economic development and job creation tools for distressed communities. Governors of each state nominated low-income census tracts to become Opportunity Zones, certified by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. Once an area is designated an Opportunity Zone, new investments in that community qualify for preferential tax treatment. In Arkansas, 85 census tracts were certified as Opportunity Zones.
“Many areas of Arkansas hold great potential if they can be connected to the right opportunities,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “We’re excited to help provide a tool that does just that by bringing together communities, investors and other stakeholders to generate economic growth in Arkansas’s Opportunity Zones.”
An important priority for Opportunity Arkansas is to increase equity by targeting investment to small and rural communities that lack resources to obtain external funding and have traditionally been underserved.
The website http://opportunityarkansas.com has information for investors, partners and communities about Arkansas’s 85 Opportunity Zones. This site will serve as the hub for zones and offer resources for people in Arkansas, with an interactive map and a form that can be used to apply for investment and technical assistance.
Opportunity Arkansas will:
- Increase capacity at the local level to develop the necessary information to present investable projects in Opportunity Zone regions.
- Attract local and national capital to Arkansas.
- Increase exposure and referrals of locally based projects supported by local communities.
- Bring technical expertise to local communities.
- Generate new businesses and new jobs through investment in local projects.
Opportunity Arkansas takes a statewide approach to increased investment, with specific funders supporting different regions. For example, funds provided by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation will support the effort in 38 Arkansas Opportunity Zones in western Arkansas, while the Delta Regional Authority will assist 47 zones in the Arkansas Delta Region.
The investment from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation ensures that citizens, investors and community leaders across Arkansas have access to the same technical assistance and support necessary to catalyze investment in their communities.
Opportunity Arkansas brings together critical education and outreach with technical expertise on project development, review and due diligence to assist the region in developing projects that create jobs and revitalize our state.
This comprehensive approach will help Arkansas develop, market and identify projects that are better suited for other investment opportunities, ensuring that all revitalization efforts receive some support and are developed to reach their full potential.