The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) named Virendra Chhikara Center Director effective November 1, 2015. Chhikara served as Business Consultant since 2010 and as the center’s Senior Business Consultant since 2012.
“VC [Chhikara] is a great leader who is passionate about helping small businesses succeed,” LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said. “He’s been the glue in the ULM Center for many years and is a great asset to the small business community in the northeast region of the state.”
Chhikara, a native of India, brings a strong educational background to the ULM center, which includes a Master of Industry and Master of Analytical Chemistry, where he worked as a scientist with the world’s top pharmaceuticals. He then came to the United States in 2007, where he would eventually graduate from ULM’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in 2009.
“We’re proud to have one of our own represent the LSBDC at ULM Center,” ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno said. “ULM and the LSBDC have a strong partnership and Chhikara has always been a key piece to both sides of it. His experience and innovation will be a great asset to the community here.”
ULM Dean of College of Business Dr. Ronald Berry said he is excited to have someone who has the experience and background that Chhikara has to lead the LSBDC at ULM.
“His work and educational background will be extremely useful to his clients as well as to the community,” Dr. Berry said. “I look forward to working with him during his transition into the leadership role.”
As the small business leader of the state’s northeast region, Chhikara plans to enhance consulting and training programs for emerging and growth-oriented small businesses, increase services for next-stage businesses, assist with next-generation technology endeavors, and help small businesses gain access to capital.
“My experience as a business consultant here has taught me a lot and I’ll use it strategically to make a difference because we want this market to stand out amongst the top in the nation,” Chhikara said. “I’m grateful and humbled to be able to serve in this role and help give back to the university and community that have given to me over the years.”
It was through ULM’s MBA program that Chhikara found the LSBDC at ULM, which then was under the direction of Dr. Paul Dunn before retiring in 2012. Chhikara said Dr. Dunn really “mentored and groomed me during my time under him.”
Nonetheless Chhikara continued climbing the ladder and acquiring specialized certifications to increase his expertise as he touts an Export and Trade Counseling Certification from the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and U.S. Small Business Administration.
Chhikara has been very successful in his role as a business consultant where he has been a three-time recipient of the LSBDC One Million Dollar Club for achieving one million plus dollars in client capitalization, one-time recipient of the LSBDC Five Million Dollar Club for achieving five million plus dollars in client capitalization, and recognized as the consultant with the most start-up businesses in the LSBDC, which garnered acknowledgement from the United States Senate.