Every year, an Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) employee who demonstrates outstanding and exemplary performance, is honored with a Louisiana State Star Award. This year, the honors went to Sandy Nguyen, business consultant at the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region.
Nguyen was honored at an awards reception in New Orleans on September 11, 2012, held in conjunction with the 32nd ASBDC Annual Conference. She was among 62 other State Stars from across the United States and U.S. territories recognized for their achievements.
“Receiving this award is a humbling experience. Not only am I honored to receive this award, but I am honored to have the opportunity to help so many entrepreneurs achieve business success,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen, a graduate of Tulane University, specializes in Vietnamese and Asian American business development, fishing and seafood industries as well as business continuity. For the past 25 years, she has used her business savvy, bilingual skills and cultural knowledge of her community to help thousands of Vietnamese, primarily in Eastern New Orleans, the largest Vietnamese community in the city, become accustomed to the rules and regulations of running a business in the U.S.
Nguyen was selected for being an exemplary performer, making significant contributions to the LSBDC program and showing strong commitment to small businesses in the state. Since starting as a contract consultant in May 2001, she has been responsible for starting 22 businesses and access more than $25 million in capital to create 193 new jobs and save 1,068 jobs while increasing sales by $333 million, much of which is attributed to her work to help Vietnamese commercial fishermen following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. These efforts proved to be extremely important giving that approximately 80 percent of commercial fishing licenses in the state are owned by people with Asian surnames, according to the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Nguyen is currently working to help small businesses recently impacted by Hurricane Isaac.
“Sandy is an awesome business consultant. She has worked tirelessly to help small businesses in the Vietnamese community start, grow and recover from multiple disasters,” said Mary Lynn Wilkerson, LSBDC State Director. “With her assistance, many of them have received reimbursements from the Oil Spill and accessed the capital needed to rebuild, save jobs and increase sales.
Due to her immense involvement in disaster recovery, Nguyen has been recognized by elected officials at the federal and state level. On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Obama and the First Lady recognized and thanked Nguyen for her hard work, dedication and recovery efforts. She was also asked to testify at the Deep Horizon Oil Spill Roundtable hosted by Senator Landrieu. Wilkerson says that Sandy’s clients are more prepared for a disaster than they were pre-Katrina. “She has helped them develop business continuity plans and prepare “Ready Kits” [important documents and supplies necessary for business to continue following a disaster] so that businesses can pick up and leave at a moments notice in case of emergency.”
Nguyen’s accomplishments also include being named one of CityBusiness’ 50 Women of the Year for her achievements and commitment to excellence in her community in 2007. Earlier this year, Nguyen received the prestigious LSBDC “5 Million Dollar Club,” award, which recognizes recipients for helping their clients secure five million dollars plus in loans, equity and other capital.
Prior to joining the LSBDC, Nguyen helped start the first Vietnamese nonprofit in the state, Vietnamese Initiative in Economic Training (VIET), which works to develop educational and economic training programs and act as a resource center for minority residents in Louisiana. This experience led to her starting her own nonprofit Coastal Communities Consulting that provides translation and immigration assistance.
Nguyen says that working for the LSBDC allows her to do what she enjoys most, helping small businesses. “I love my job,” said Nguyen. “As an LSBDC business consultant, I am rewarded everyday helping my clients, whether it’s helping them get immediate financial assistance to help them get back into business after a storm or helping their business accept electronic payment options to increase sales.”
In 2011, through its partnership with Louisiana Economic Development (LED)and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the LSBDC served 12,000 small businesses – creating 1,238 new jobs, 186 new businesses, $127 million in capital, and $48 million in new sales.This year alone, the LSBDC served 12,000 small businesses – creating 1,200 new jobs, 182 new businesses, $123 million in capital, and $45 million in new.
For more information, visit the LSBDC website at www.lsbdc.org.
Established in 1983, the LSBDC is the state’s premiere provider of small business assistance and the only statewide nationally accredited program that provides business consulting to entrepreneurs at no cost. Through a network of 10 centers, the LSBDC provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to help new and existing businesses start, grow and succeed.
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