Two state centers garner top SBDC in country in three-year span
Being the best doesn’t mean you have to win every time, but rather most of the time. In
two of the last three years, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) has been recognized as the nation’s top center. Does that mean LSBDC it is the best? You be the judge.
The LSBDC at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) was presented with the SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award in May 2015 and in 2013 the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region (GNOR) garnered the same honor, with both programs being recognized at the White House in Washington D.C.
Presented by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), the SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award is given annually to the SBDC program that demonstrates excellence in providing value to small business and advancing program delivery and management through innovation, making it the top in the country.
LSBDC at SLU team stands with its 2015 SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award presented by the United States Small Business Administration in May 2015 in Washington D.C.
The SBA evaluation criteria includes performance milestones, innovative programs, professional development and advocacy; and the award is coveted by approximately 1,000 centers across the nation.
Under the direction of William Joubert, SLU’s center serves the five-parish region of Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. SLU’s center counseled over 400 clients resulting in over 150 jobs created and 22 business starts during 2014. It also helped clients secure over $25.2 million over the past year, and the center is on track to exceed that amount this year.
“Our success could not have been achieved without the strong cooperation we receive from area economic development agencies and chambers of commerce as we work together to improve the economic climate and opportunities for the region,” Joubert said.
Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet said in a letter notifying Joubert of the award that, “Your hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your state’s economy.”
The proof is in the pudding. Since LSBDC record-keeping began in 2001, SLU’s center success is astounding when looking at the LSBDC consulting models as it has created approximately 2,900 jobs, 254 business starts, and a total capital formation of approximately $349,358,000.
The LSBDC at SLU has had major and direct impact of the growth of many businesses in its region. One in particular is Saint Andrews Village, a mixed-use community for developmentally disabled adults to live, work and socialize. St. Andrews Village has been a LSBDC client since 2009, and the SLU center helped develop a business plan, feasibility study, financial analysis and fundraising strategies. As a result, St. Andrews Village accumulated $17.5 million to help the project to break ground.
“The LSBDC staff was instrumental in St. Andrews’s Village securing Phase 1 construction,” Owner Donna Breaux said. The business plan they developed served as the cornerstone for grant applications and fundraising. The plan was used to devise a certified financial feasibility study to secure funding. Not only was the work product outstanding, the dedication and professionalism of staff were second to none.”
The LSBDC at SLU leads the Louisiana network in creating and implementing innovative programs that help build small businesses in the state.
During the 2014 fiscal year, the center focused on three key initiatives specifically designed to help small businesses on the Northshore: accelerating business growth, accessing capital and increasing accessibility.
Southeastern President John L. Cain said over the years, the SLU Center has provided invaluable advice and assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs in the region.
“Their work to enhance the economy of our region is a testament to the vital role Southeastern plays as a regional university,” Crain said.
According to Patrick Witty, Director of Small Business and Community Services for the Louisiana Economic Development, the SLU center “adds tremendous value to our work at Louisiana Economic Development in providing innovative programing, superior customer service and collaboration with economic development allies.”
“They are a best practice in our state,” Witty said.
And they continue to show it. The LSBDC at SLU has even helped push a business to become nationally recognized when Envoc, a development and design firm specializing in custom software services, corporate brand and Web presence and mobile application development, was mentioned in Inc.com magazine’s Top-5000 fastest-growing privately held companies.
“The LSBDC brought light to key factors we did not consider in our business decisions,” Calvin Fabre said, of Envoc. “Their input has been critical to the expansion and success of our business.”
Just as the SLU center, the GNOR center was selected as the top SBDC in the country back in 2013. Under the leadership of Carmen Sunda, the center at that time achieved unparalleled success by creating innovative programs, assembling a team of dynamic business consultants and cultivating key partnerships among local business and community leaders.
Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business
Administration, Louisiana Economic Development, and Delgado Community College,
Loyola University New Orleans, Nicholls State University, and Xavier
University of Louisiana.
Sunda and her team demonstrated and continue their commitment to building sustainable small businesses in GNOR by devising new ways to provide services and training related to accessing capital, sales growth and revenue diversification, using the latest technology to increase profits, and forming strategic alliances with public, private and government entities to leverage resources.