The economy in our state is booming, which allows us to keep existing businesses and to attract new ones. Since December, 10 companies have announced that they are expanding their Arkansas operations or plan to open here.

These new or expanding businesses will infuse more than $50 million in investment capital and will eventually create more than 400 jobs. Of those 10, four are new to Arkansas, six are expanding, and three of the 10 companies started in Arkansas.

The services and products they provide include banking, steel and charcoal.

The 10 new or expanding companies are Calstrip in Blytheville; Ecodrum Composter in Ozark; a Swedish company called Gränges in Newport; Bank of the Ozarks in Franklin County; BankLabs in Little Rock; Applied Processes and Silgan in Fort Smith; Safe Foods in North Little Rock; Cooks BBQ in Pindall; and Morrilton Packing Co. in Morrilton.

Homegrown businesses of all sizes are the foundation of our economy, and their success is a significant element of our recruiting message. The majority of the 364 incentive agreements we have signed in the past three-and-a-half years have involved Arkansas business. Arkansas businesses have created the majority of the 62,000 new jobs. The solid achievements of Arkansans have created a business environment that attracts business.

Arkansas is a small state, but we have built a reputation that is bigger than our boundaries and population. Many leaders of business from Germany to France to China to Mexico recognize that the Natural State is a natural fit. The ingenuity and solid work ethic of Arkansans makes Arkansas an easy sell.

We have a strong economic wind at our back with the promise of much more to come on the horizon.