Business Resources

The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development offers resources for existing, expanding, and new businesses.


CABS provides services to small and minority businesses in Camden and Ouachita County. The Center provides space for training, coaching, and consultation for both existing and startup businesses. The CABS Center also is a self-paced learning center and offers:

  • Business Library
  • How-To Business Guides
  • Business Software & Videos
  • Online Training & Tutorials
  • Video Connection To Technical Assistance
  • Telephone, Fax, Scanner, Printer, & Copier
  • Computer & Internet Access
  • Office & Conference Space

There is no one way to tackle a problem, and it’s the same in starting or retooling a business. We all have our own stories and our own approaches. At the CABS Center, we treat you as your unique self and help you to put together a plan for following your dream. We say “Dream Big” because we want you to be all that you can. It’s about you, your vision and your investment. Our job at CABS is to listen to you. Drop in or call 870-836-2210 to schedule an appointment with a Small Business Coach.

See Your Plan Move Forward

Business planning is hard work. No one can do it for you. It has to be your plan, your labor, your investment. Our job is to guide you – to support and work with you. We’re going to ask a lot of questions; some will be easy to answer, others will be challenging. In the end, your hard work will greatly improve your chances for success.

Here are five things that you can do to be more productive:

  1. Write a short description of your existing or proposed business and its products.
  2. Describe your customers and how you will get them to buy your product.
  3. Make a complete list of all of your actual or expected business costs.
  4. What investments will you make in your business?
  5. What are your weaknesses – what kind of help do you need?

Positioned For Success – Execute!

Executing your plan can mean many things, including getting financing, securing permits and licenses, preparing your business space, marketing your business, hiring employees, and setting up your financial books. We are here to help.


To Incubate

To maintain under conditions favorable for hatching; to grow under conditions that promote development; to cause or aid the development of an idea; to promote development of the young – to help them survive and grow during their startup period when they are most vulnerable; to undergo incubation.

What is Business Incubation?

Business incubation is kind of a big hug. It’s personal. It’s a commitment to opening yourself up to a second set of eyes. It’s a willingness to accept critique and help. It’s offering to be accountable. It’s accelerating on your path to business growth. It’s a place to call home when you are away from home.

What is Camden Incubate (CI)?

CI is a member-based business incubation program. It offers support, counsel, and services to two types of members:

  • CIncubator™ companies are businesses which have residence status in the Ouachita Valley Business and Technology Center building at 625 Adams Avenue in Camden and have committed to a program of business incubation. Resident companies have access to secure production and/or office space, loading docks, meeting rooms, copy and mail room, secure network, broadband internet, video conferencing, telephones, and business services.
  • CInc™ companies are businesses which have committed to a program of business incubation and are receiving business services not requiring residency.

What are the Criteria for Joining Camden Incubate?

Criteria for Program Membership (CInc™)

  1. Potential for survival.
  2. Management’s commitment to succeed.
  3. Skills and experience of management team.
  4. Commitment by company ownership to make a personal investment of resources in the business.
  5. Willingness to provide periodic status reports, participate in incubation program events, and receive services including assistance in seeking financing and in assessing market opportunities.

Criteria for Tenant Membership (CIncubators™)

  1. Incubator tenancy is reserved for early stage companies from six months to two years old; advanced stage companies are not candidates unless limited to temporary space needs to ease a move into the community. Startup companies younger than six months will be considered only if rated high in #5 and #6 below. Concept stage companies are not eligible for incubator tenancy unless they need “desk space” only.
  2. Potential for growth and job creation.
  3. Management’s commitment to succeed, including full-time commitment of operating executive(s).
  4. Skills, experience, and business readiness and aptitude of management team.
  5. Evidence of personal investment of resources by company ownership, including evidence of monetary investment and collateral assets
  6. Adequate level of resources to begin and sustain full-time operations within the first six months of occupancy.
  7. Principals have been working on their business for at least six months – not in the concept stage, but are programmed to be ready for at least prototype production within first six months.
  8. Product/concept/technology is commercially viable as evaluated by technical advisors.
  9. Focus on manufacturing or technologies – not services, unless the plan provides for more than five employees earning wages above the County average within two years.
  10. A commitment to continuously building and following a business plan throughout the period of tenancy, including a:
    1. An analysis of industry trends and market competition.
    2. A marketing plan.
    3. A solid financing plan and projections for at least two years.
    4. An operational plan with targeted milestones.
  11. Willingness to provide periodic status reports, to participate in incubation program events, and to accept incubator services including assistance in securing financing necessary for maintaining a growth path, in assessing market opportunities, and in working with incubation program management to continually improve the quality of business planning.
  12. An articulated need for in-residence incubation services.

Requirements of CIncubators™

CIncubator™ companies are each required to have an Advisory Board which meets at least quarterly. Advisory boards provide a monitoring and evaluation mechanism, as well as a sounding board and vehicle to provide outside counsel to developing companies. Each Advisory Board will have a minimum of five members, including the Executive Director of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, a community member appointed by the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development Board of Directors, and three members unrelated to the business owners and appointed by the business for their business experience and knowledge, including at least one with competence related to the business endeavor.

CIncubator™ companies will be offered a standard lease at market rates for three years with requirements that the business be insured and commit to financial and business performance reporting. However, a three year lease term will not be guaranteed. Instead, continued tenure will be based upon performance against agreed upon milestones. The first six months will be a probationary period with an exit by the end of the first year if the company is not performing as agreed. A portion of rent paid will be used to purchase or offset the cost of business support services provided to each CIncubator™ company.

How Does a Business Join Camden Incubate?

Meet with Executive Director for initial review of business status against eligibility criteria. Receive coaching on application process and steps to taken to be considered for admissions.

Complete and submit application for Camden Incubate membership, along with company business plan if ready. Business plan is not required to be complete prior to program admissions if company commits to completion within first six months. Business plan coaching is available in the Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center every Tuesday and Thursday.

Camden Incubate Screening Committee will be convened to review each application, meet with applicant, and rate the application against membership criteria. Recommendations for CInc™ membership are made to the Executive Director. Recommendations for CIncubator™ membership are made to the OPED Board. Recommendations may include deferral of membership until applicant completes additional steps. The Camden Incubate Screening Committee consists of core members supplemented by members invited by the Executive Director to serve on an ad hoc basis because of their familiarity with some aspect of the applicant’s business endeavor.

If I’m Not Ready For Business Incubation, What Else Is Available?

Check out the Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center where we offer business coaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays and where we have a collection of resources for your use, including books, videos, software, Internet access to online tutorials and data useful to planning or managing a business.



FREE Small Business Training Now Offered at the Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center

625 Adams SW, Camden, AR 71701 (OPED Building)
Call 870-836-2210 or to Pre-Register

Top-Notch Customer Service – Tuesday, March 15, 2016 – 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Limited Seating

Excellent customer service is a cost-free marketing technique, as well as a way to set your business apart from your competitors. Learn how to exceed customer expectations, handle unhappy customers, and create a culture of top-notch customer service.

Selling on Etsy – Tuesday, April 5, 2016 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Limited Seating

Join us for an afternoon of turning your passion into a creative business. Learn what products are a good fit for the Etsy Marketplace, the fees involved, and best practices to selling your handmade and vintage items online.