The Rotary Club of Pine Bluff presented the 2012 George A. Makris Sr. Small Business Award Tuesday to Agents Mutual Insurance.

The Rotary Club of Pine Bluff presented the 2012 George A. Makris Sr. Small Business Award Tuesday to Agents Mutual Insurance.

General Agent Marc Oudin accepted the award on behalf of the company, saying it was an honor to receive the award. This is the 20th year for Rotary to present the award.

Also Tuesday, an update was presented on the county’s Economic Development Sales Tax by Chuck Morgan, president and CEO of Pine Bluff National Bank and secretary and treasurer of the board for the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County.

The 3/8 of a cent sales tax throughout Jefferson County was approved by voters 2011 and has already been used to help at least two companies bring industry into the community by offering incentives.

One agency, Vivione Biosciences, will lease lab space at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. Vivione is a biotechnology company powered by RAPID-B technology and is responsible for a high-performance diagnostic system that targets health and food safety issues. By 2016, the agency plans to have 200-300 jobs.

Local incentives were also used to help Horizon Foods with its plan to open the old Tyson Foods plant on West Second Avenue. Horizon is a “spent hen” processing facility that handles older, egg-laying hens primarily for foreign markets. The agency planned to hire 175 people initially and plans to have a maximum of 329 jobs when it forms a second shift.