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ASU's Lawrence on a mission to serve veterans

Sept. 15, 2009 -- You could say Herb Lawrence is on a mission.

The retired Army officer has been at the forefront of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center’s veterans project aimed at active, retired, and reserve military personnel who are small business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Veterans Assistance and Services Program, the year-long project wraps up in September.

"Herb Lawrence has brought great passion and expertise to this project," said Janet Roderick, ASBTDC state director. "As a certified business consultant and military veteran, he is well qualified to discuss business ownership with veterans."

Lawrence, director of the ASBTDC office at Arkansas State University since 1996, spent seven years on active duty in the U.S. Army Signal Corp and served 13 years with the Arkansas National Guard. He helped develop ASBTDC’s Ready to Go business mobilization planning guide in 2008. Since January, he has participated in 13 reintegration meetings across the state for more than 2,000 National Guard troops returning from deployment and has been active in the Yellow Ribbon Task Force.

He estimates he has talked with more than 200 veterans and their spouses interested in small business since the project began.

"As a retired officer and father of a currently serving Army officer, our volunteer military holds a special place for me, especially our National Guard and Reservists who have been called upon to provide ongoing combat tours for extended periods of time away from family, jobs and their normal lives," he said. "The strain on Guard members and Reservists who are business owners or trying to start a business has been extremely difficult for them. I want to do all I can to thank them for their service and to help them acclimate back to civilian life as much as possible."

ASBTDC has utilized cutting-edge communication technologies to reach Arkansas veterans living in the state as well as those serving on active duty in Afghanistan and other far-flung locations., a Web portal created by the ASBTDC, brings together in one place veterans-related resources, news, information, and contacts for veterans and their families. This summer, Lawrence led six webinars for veterans on starting a business, writing a business plan and business financing. In July, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to brief the SBA Veteran Liaison Committee on the ways ASBTDC is assisting start-up and existing veteran-owned businesses.

The ASBTDC is a partnership of the SBA and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business. In addition to the lead center at UALR and office at ASU, other regional offices are located at Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology, McGehee. All services, which include consulting, research and training, are available at low or no cost. Learn more at

--Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center News Release
   Aug. 31, 2009
   Gwen Green,(, (501) 683-7700


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