Celebrating our commitment

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maria Contreras-Sweet (left) presents a medal and certificate of celebration to Louisiana Small Business Development Center Financial Manager Justin Downs at the SBDC national conference in San Francisco, Cal.

SBDC recognized for 35 years of service

When you’re a service organization and have been around for 35 years it shows two things: you’re dedicated and you have value. That holds true for the America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) as it celebrated 35 years at its national conference in San Francisco, Ca. during the week of Sept. 8-11.

With the SBDC, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) took part in the 35-year celebration in San Francisco and was honored by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

District Director for U.S. Small Business Administration in Louisiana Michael Ricks said the SBA is honored to be partnered with the LSBDC.

“It provides an invaluable service across the state, from start-up business, existing business, and helping with access to capital,” Ricks said. “The LSBDC is certainly responsible for the success and growth of the small business community in Louisiana.”

Contreras-Sweet presented the LSBDC with a medal and a certificate for its service. LSBDC Financial Manager Justin Downs received the tokens of honor.

“Being a part of the national network is truly an honor for us here in Louisiana,” Downs said. “Our state network has been here 32 of the 35 years and it shows a true commitment to the community, entrepreneurs, and small business growth.”

Downs said small business advocates such as Contreras-Sweet truly help the SBDC continue to thrive and bring impact to the local economies.

“The SBA plays a huge part in what we do at the SBDC,” Downs said. “We all try and echo its efforts here locally as we grow our communities one business at a time and one job at a time.”

The LSBDC State Office is hosted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe and ULM’s support has been instrumental in the success of the network.

“The LSBDC is a strong asset to our university and it’s wonderful to learn of their recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration,” ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno said. “As the host university for the Louisiana SBDC network, we’re proud to be a part of the work they do. They are a true value to the community and we certainly appreciate and recognize that as well.”

The 35-year story of how America’s SBDC Network is quite unique. It grew from a small pilot program to a nationwide business education and training infrastructure with nearly 1,000 centers throughout the nation providing management and technical assistance to over a million Americans annually.

It chronicles the commitment of key federal lawmakers, training professionals, college and university officials, state and local policymakers, private and public sector partners, dedicated SBDC personnel, an active trade association and, most of all, the millions of small business men and women who have come to America’s SBDCs seeking to improve their lives through America’s free enterprise system.


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The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by Louisiana Delta Community College, is a member of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and participating universities. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
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