The 2017 Southcentral Arkansas Rural Business + Enterprise Development Conference will be held Friday, Oct. 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the S.J. Parker 1890 Extension Complex at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders at 8:30 a.m. during a “Lenders Roundtable Breakfast.”

Topics will include building effective partnerships, securing capital, developing business plans and selling goods and services to the government and private sector.

Businessman Lewis E. James, chief executive officer of MCLJASCO, owner of several supply chain businesses based in Detroit, Michigan, will deliver the luncheon address.

“Approximately 20 private, state, federal and nonprofit organizations with the singular goal of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools, skills and resources needed to start and expand their businesses will join Mr. James,” according to a news release.

The conference is funded by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, Arkansas Human Development Corp. and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.

The event is hosted by the Arkansas Human Development Corporation, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce, UAPB, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Organizations invited to participate include Arkansas Capital Corp. Group, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Communities Unlimited, Hope Credit Union, Bank of America, Bank of Star City, First Bank and Trust, Relyance Bank, Simmons and Stone Bank.

Current business owners, entrepreneurs, business and technical school students, apprentices, veterans and community and economic development professionals, are invited.

The event is free, however registration is encouraged. To register or for details, contact Arkansas Human Development Corp. at 800-482-7641 or or