LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Mayor Mark Stodola announced the City of Little Rock has hopes of becoming the home of a new headquarters for Amazon. He admitted some of the requirements are challenging, but does plan to submit a bid.
Stodola thinks the talent pool in software and related fields here in Central Arkansas are strong enough to get the attention and approval of Amazon.
“It's exciting that the city and our leadership are interested in pursuing Amazon's new headquarters building,” said Lee Watson, CEO of The Venture Center.
Stodola said in a statement that Amazon is interested in entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity of the digital economy and Little Rock has plenty.
“We loved what Little Rock had to offer from a talent standpoint and the engagement from the community when it comes to technology. The Tech Park is a good example of that,” Maf Sonko said. He relocated his business from Atlanta to Little Rock and is housed in the Tech Park downtown.
“It will drive more people to Little Rock, its located right in the center of the country. You can fly anywhere in 2-3 hours,” Sonko added.
Joel Gordon with the Innovation Hub thinks Amazon is a powerful platform that could be utilized by anyone, not just tech or marketing based companies.
"Amazon has created a very simple platform for each of us to get on as entrepreneurs and business owners. And even work through the logistics of giving that product to a client,” said Gordon.
Businesses think the possibility of Amazon coming to Arkansas could boost the economy, education, and job market.
“We've helped several hundred and they've created over 400 jobs, raised $40 million in capital to grow their businesses, and are now generating about $30 million a year in revenue,” Watson said.
He thinks Governor Asa Hutchinson’s computer science initiative also creates long term investment.
“Arkansas is sort of experiencing a re-birth in the technology and entrepreneurial spectrum. We're seeing companies from around the country choose to make Little Rock their home,” he added.
Stodola also thinks Little Rock has shown leadership in other areas Amazon values, including sustainability and a push for "smart cities".