158th Annual Meeting

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (December 6, 2023) -- Today, the Little Rock Regional Chamber held its 158th Annual Meeting, presented by Saracen Casino Resort. This year’s luncheon featured a discussion with Scott Ford, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Westrock Coffee Company, who started the company to change the lives of people in Rwanda. Fast forward ten years, and Westrock has over one million members of smallholder farming households in more than 20 different coffee-growing countries worldwide.   

“There’s a value to the work that we do that we know, that we quantitatively can prove, has changed the millions of lives of children,” explained Ford.

Leaders from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, The Venture Center, and the Chamber jointly announced the Arkansas Tech Launch Exchange Program (AR Tech Launch). This new initiative is designed to help accelerate and build technology-based businesses in Little Rock and Central Arkansas by recruiting international entrepreneurs to locate here and provide talent development and support services to enhance success.

Chamber leadership also celebrated strategic results accomplished in 2023, including closing 10 projects representing over 1600 jobs and $370 million in capital investment across the Central Arkansas region so far. With companies like Trex, Sig Sauer, Fiocchi, Lowe’s, Dollar General, Tractor Supply, the Federal Metal Company, Elopak, and ACE Glass all under construction on facilities across the Little Rock region, regional job growth is projected to grow by over 16,000 in the next five years. 

Other highlights included partnering with nearly 50 companies to launch the Little Rock Love Connection talent attraction campaign, offering both newcomers and former Arkansans a personalized job match opportunity with a $10,000 cash bonus. The Academies of Central Arkansas also continued to help grow the talent pipeline in all the public high schools in Pulaski County. The Chamber now has 52 signed corporate partnerships to help students learn through a relevant, real-world lens that interests them along with hosting a successful career expo where 3,500 Freshman students interacted with over 100 businesses and organizations.

To help make resources readily available to the community, as well as those looking to potentially move to the region, the Chamber unveiled a new website, which includes updated interactive technology. A new Little Rock Loves program community initiative was also announced in 2023. This program has non-profit organizations and businesses partnering to encourage more business philanthropy in the Little Rock region.

You can learn more about the work that the Chamber does throughout our region here.