For Dave Robertson, there’s two ways of looking at economic development.
“One is bringing in new business, but the other aspect of it is supporting existing businesses,” Robertson said. “Eighty to ninety percent of all US businesses are considered a family business. When you realize how significant that number is, and you look at the challenges that they face that are kind of unique, you can see where there’s an opportunity to support them and keep them strong.”
Helping local family businesses address those challenges was a major reason Robertson took over as director of the Family Enterprise Center at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith nine years ago, a program that grows the economy of the greater Fort Smith region by helping local family businesses.