Brittany Scott, Owner and Lab Director of Semen and Embryo Advanced Technologies (SMART Repro) has turned a groundbreaking vision into a reality since founding the company in 2021.

As the first USDA-inspected and approved multi-country, European Union, and UK-certified small ruminant semen and embryo collection facility, SMART Repro is revolutionizing sheep and goat genetics across global markets. Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the center advances the work of American sheep and goat producers by connecting them to international demand, creating novel, and lucrative revenue streams.

SMART Repro’s triumphs are underpinned by a meaningful partnership with Communities Unlimited (CU). Brittany Scott’s encounter with CU at a Small Business Administration (SBA) event at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was a turning point. She was captivated by panelist Pamela Reed, MBDA Center Lead at CU. This led to a referral to CU’s Entrepreneurship Team and Area Director Dale Rutherford, who welcomed SMART Repro as a client.

Around the same time, the company began exploring contracting opportunities, eventually securing a contract involving goats for various purposes. Initially, the contract did not result in any orders, but with persistence, SMART Repro prepared for future bids.

Recognizing their capabilities, a contracting team sought SMART Repro’s assistance in shipping goats to locations including Hawaii and Alaska. The Alaska contract was particularly suited to their unique skills, and they were awarded the project.

The assistance from Rutherford and Management Consultant Barretta Robinson helped SMART Repro rebuild its business foundation with thorough exercises, homework, and data analysis. Scott emphasized that hiring a business consultant would have been unaffordable without CU’s support.

CU’s involvement transformed the company’s approach to decision-making and operations, providing a level of understanding and support they had yet to experience from traditional lenders and consultants.

To fulfill the Alaska contract, SMART Repro needed substantial funding to ship 100 live goats by FedEx by June. Rutherford collaborated with CU’s Lending Team and Area Director Debra Williams to secure a loan for the necessary inventory. CU provided critical support, ensuring smooth communication and document generation. While retail banks often declined similar work, CU quickly approved the loan.

Scott appreciated CU’s responsiveness and support, noting the positive impact on SMART Repro’s office atmosphere.

“It was refreshing not to be told we’re the weird, stinky kid in the room,” Scott said. “We’ve never had this support from anyone, especially from a lending institution. No one has enthusiastically taken us on as a client like CU. If we’re talking about retail banks or for-profit consultants, we’re too strange. There’s too much unknown, too much risk. We hear that all the time as our business is risky, even though financially and asset-wise, we’re in good shape. Dale, Debra, and the entire Communities Unlimited organization accepted us with open arms. They see the potential of our products and market size, and we couldn’t be more thankful for their support.”

CU’s loan enabled SMART Repro to purchase the goats, bring them to the facility, and start vaccinations, adhering to a strict timeline. Without CU’s lending support, the company would have had to decline the contract due to cash flow constraints.

The goats arrived in Alaska on June 6, fulfilling the delivery contract. This partnership, facilitated by CU, officially becomes a success story.

"Communities Unlimited is like the best-kept secret resource that no one knows about. It's refreshing to have someone who truly understands us and our goals. We see you as a valued team member rather than just a loan officer looking for a payment. This partnership has been life-changing for our company."

— Brittany Scott, SMART Repro Founder

CU continues to work with SMART Repro as the company returns to its core mission of improving milk and meat goats through selective breeding and embryo and sperm cell collection. The Entrepreneurial Team is leveraging this key value in international and domestic markets.

Over the past two years, SMART Repro faced financial challenges, but with CU’s guidance, the business is now on track for significant growth and profitability. CU’s strategic support, including loans and a growth plan, has been crucial.

“You can’t go from zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds,” Rutherford said. “We’re helping SMART Repro scale and grow based on a structured growth plan. Brittany has become proactive, responsive, and open to guidance, making significant progress and becoming much more relaxed with a clear plan.”

“I love working with smart, technically savvy women. What she’s doing in her field is incredible, and I’m excited to see what she accomplishes in the future. It’s an honor to be part of this loan. I’m absolutely blown away and impressed with her, and I look forward to the next opportunity to support her.”

Debra Williams

— Debra Williams, Area Director Of Lending