The U.S. has always been regarded as the land of opportunity. Small businesses have been the backbone of the United States economy for decades. Most businesses that are started begin with someone’s ambition and passion, which then quickly turns into a small business.

Arkansas is certainly no stranger to small businesses; in fact, when you compare the number of small businesses with the state’s population, there are a lot of small businesses thriving within the state, and the number of them is incrementally increasing each year.

The Natural State is a contributor to the United States’ colossal economy. Over the past few years, Arkansas’ support for small businesses has been evident with the state’s pro-business approach, which in return has helped thousands of small businesses thrive in the current climate. This is due to the abundance of small business resources, like development centers, investors, and support networks.

Number of Small Businesses in Arkansas

So, how many small businesses are there in Arkansas? There are 255,004 small businesses in Arkansas, according to the latest figures (2020) from the SBA.

It is not just Americans and Arkansans starting small businesses in Arkansas; the state is also attractive to foreigners investing and starting businesses in the state. There were 12,843 immigrant entrepreneurs in Arkansas in 2018 that accounted for 8% of all self-employed Arkansas residents.

The following bar graph shows the number of small businesses in Arkansas in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

How many small businesses in Arkansas

Of the 255,004 small businesses in Arkansas in 2020, there is a wide array of different enterprises from small, one-person sole proprietorships or LLCs to much larger businesses with a hundred or more employees. If you want to join the 250 thousand-plus small businesses in Arkansas, it is fairly easy to register a business in Arkansas.

To be a small business in Arkansas, you have to qualify as one. So, to operate as a small business in Arkansas, you must have a company with less than 500 employees.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the number of small businesses in Arkansas by looking at the top industries, business owners, employees, and more!

Small Businesses in Arkansas 2020 overview

  • Small businesses equate to over 99.3% of all businesses in Arkansas.
  • There are 490,680 small business employees in Arkansas, which is 47.6% of the states’ employees.
  • In 2019, Small Businesses in Arkansas added 10,151 new jobs!
  • Small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees created the most job gains.
  • There are 25,654 self-employed minorities in Arkansas demonstrating diversity.
  • Trade is important for many businesses, and there are 1,780 small business exporters in Arkansas.
  • There are more construction small businesses in Arkansas than any other type – 34,126.
  • Retail Trade firms make up the 2nd largest number of small businesses in Arkansas – 25,997.

Top 5 small business industries in Arkansas

How Many Small Businesses are There in Arkansas?

Over 250,000+ is a lot of small businesses to be registered in any one state, especially since it is the 34th most populous one! Compared to the rest of the U.S., the total number of small businesses in Arkansas is 0.8% of all U.S. businesses. There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S.

The number of small businesses in Arkansas has been growing over the past several years. In 2017 there were 244,977 small businesses, which increased to 247,018 in 2018, representing a 0.83% increase. In 2019 there were 249,907 small businesses in Arkansas, 2,889 more than the state had in 2018, representing a 1.16% increase.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of small businesses in Arkansas rose again, to 255,004. This is the largest increase in percentage over the past five years (2.03%) and is evidence as to why Arkansas’ economic strength has been building exponentially over the past several years.

We hope this information is useful for those interested in starting a company in Arkansas, marketing your company to other small businesses in the Natural State, or expanding your business in the state.

Arkansas has much to offer employers, employees, companies, and entrepreneurs, which is why many continue to gravitate to the state due to its consistently improving business environment, which in return has provided a multitude of incredible opportunities for everybody.

With access to large consumer markets, a respectful “go local” approach to community-driven businesses, so many local small business resources readily available for everybody, and a healthy labor market, it is clear to see why.

If you would like to download the latest 2020 Small Business Profile on Arkansas from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, the Profile can be downloaded here.