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AADA Article WorldTradeCenterAerospace and aviation products, the current leading dollar-value export of Arkansas, have carved out an important role in maintaining and stimulating the state’s economy. Working with the World Trade Center Arkansas (WTCA), and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (EDC), the AADA has been afforded numerous opportunities in expansion.

The WTCA’s utilizes State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant funds, as well as Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding to pioneer aerospace and aviation companies attendance at the world’s largest air shows – Paris, Farnborough, and many others.  Organizing commercial diplomacy and hosting foreign-buying delegations, such as trade ministers, ambassadors, and consul generals (including business representatives) creates the environment in which business to business (B2B) meetings can foster growth and stronger relationships.

These showcases provide the opportunities necessary for beginning and growing relations with international buyers, which in turn increases Arkansas’ attractiveness to future investors. With a focus of growing Arkansas’ exports, the WTCA recognizes the huge implications of having such a strong STEM industry such as Aerospace; Arkansas possesses the potential to draw engineers and has the resources to develop and educate its own workforce (thereby increasing Arkansans moving into STEM careers). Dan Hendrix, CEO of World Trade Center Arkansas, explained, “More companies will be attracted to Arkansas for investment because of its developed workforce. Ultimately, Arkansas could become an even greater pioneering state for 21st century technologies…”

The WTCA aids companies on five fronts: 1) Training and Education, 2) Market Research and Consults, 3) Sending companies to trade missions and shows, 4) B2B Meetings/Global Networking, and 5) Grants and funding when available to aid in related development expenses.

Thus far, the WTCA, as a member of the Alliance, has been able to broaden their focus on the aerospace industry, as a whole, and strive to provide exposure to a plethora of aerospace and defense companies who are looking for international expansion into the global market.

Hendrix said, “This approach can be applied to any industry which makes the World Trade Center Arkansas such a powerful resource to any company in the state… It has also allowed us to introduce them to international buyers – whether they be governments, businesses or domestic industry giants… The companies can increase their sales, revenue and workforce – which creates jobs and wealth, growing the Arkansas economy and elevating the standard of living in the state.”

By teaming up with the AADA, the WTCA’s mission of growth in aerospace exports is sure to rise. Their dedication to educating the next generation, and actively involving current aerospace and aviation businesses to connect with international investors will certainly give grounds for businesses to thrive.

Hendrix had one final comment about the WTCA’s membership with the AADA, “We are excited about the future and hope to continue to play a role in export expansion for the companies. We are always ready and available to serve the state of Arkansas and its companies.”