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LED Offers Even More Resources for Louisiana Small Businesses

LED Offers Even More Resources for Louisiana Small Businesses

Starting a small business is not for the faint of heart. How much should you spend on labor and marketing? Where’s the best source of capital? What services do you offer that distinguish you from your competition? These and many other questions are likely going through the heads of most small-business owners. Luckily, LED is here to help.

Louisiana Economic Development is very invested in your success as a small-business owner and has many resources available to help you meet your goals. We’ve outlined some in the past that offer assistance with capital, certifications and training. Here are a few more designed specifically for CEOs, second-stage companies and exporters.

If you think you may qualify for any of these programs, contact LED today to learn more.

CEO Roundtables

As CEO or owner of a Louisiana small business, have you ever wished you could sit down with other leaders to hash out solutions to common business problems? You can do exactly that with our CEO Roundtables program.

Ten times a year, a group of about 15 small-business owners and CEOs meets with qualified facilitators and guest speakers to talk about various business topics. Peers discuss their successes and failures so the entire group can benefit from others’ experiences.

To qualify for the CEO Roundtables, your principal place of business must be within Louisiana. You also must have annual revenue of $600,000 to $50 million, must employ between five and 100 people, and must work in the manufacturing, finance, insurance, administrative services or emerging industries sector. Retail stores and restaurants are not accepted. Other factors are also considered.

Applications are accepted between Feb. 1 and March 31 each year for the CEO Roundtables that begin in July.

Economic Gardening Initiative

The Economic Gardening Initiative is designed to help second-stage small businesses grow larger by providing them with specialized research and technical assistance. Unlike assistance typically given to startups, this is not about developing a business plan, securing funding or hiring the right people. Instead, the Economic Gardening team researches five key areas: core strategy, market dynamics, qualified sales leads, innovation and temperament.

Under these five categories, the team uses sophisticated databases and geographic information to analyze your competition, your web presence, untapped markets, new opportunities and your current and future customers. This wealth of knowledge can help you target your sales and marketing information to better distinguish yourself from the competition.

To qualify for Economic Gardening, your principal place of business must be within Louisiana. You also must have annual revenue of between $600,000 and $50 million, must employ between five and 100 people, must demonstrate you had growth in revenue or employees in the previous two years, must demonstrate the ability to serve customers in markets beyond your local area and must work in the manufacturing, finance, insurance, administrative services or emerging industries sector.

STEP Grant Export Promotion Program

The STEP Grant Export Promotion Program is designed to increase the number of small businesses in the U.S. with export capabilities and to increase their sales. The program is done in conjunction with the Small Business Administration, which provides financial awards to states and territories to assist small businesses with export development. For 2016-17, Louisiana has been awarded $160,000.

The program offers travel expense reimbursements for companies attending approved trade shows that will help them with exporting products. For companies new to exporting, up to 75 percent of expenses of $2,500 or less are reimbursed. For established exporters looking for market expansion, up to 50 percent of expenses of $2,500 or less are reimbursed.

To qualify, you must profitably operate a Louisiana-based business for at least one year, have a plan for exporting, meet the SBA definition of a small business, have export products that contain at least 51 percent of materials from the U.S., and attend a pre-approved trade show for reimbursement. Other factors are also considered.

If you qualify, you can be reimbursed for certain airfare, meals, ground transportation, lodging and booth rental and registration fees.