The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and Southern University named Kent Smith Center Director effective June 1, 2016. Smith is a graduate of Southern University Baton Rouge, College of Business with a B.S degree in Marketing. In addition, he has an MBA in Organizational Leadership and Management from Ashford University and a professional certificate in Executive Management from Cornell University.
“I want to welcome Kent to the LSBDC team and specifically to lead the LSBDC at SUBR,” LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said. “With his background in banking and business lending, and his experience in executive management, I know he will be a significant and valuable driver for small business support in Baton Rouge, and our continued network success.”
Smith has major experience in the banking industry, having served as an Assistant Vice President at Capital One Bank, Community Retail Banking Manager at Wells Fargo, and Vice President of Retail Operations and Customer Service for ExxonMobil Federal Credit Union. He has also served as a board member with the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council.
Southern University College of Business Dean Donald Andrews said Smith’s experience in banking gives him the business skills, knowledge and background required for moving the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University Baton Rouge to a higher level of small business development for the Baton Rouge Area.
“Kent has lending experience with small businesses, which will play a key role in the development of business plans for the clients served by the Center’s programs,” Andrews said. “His marketing and lending skills will be a major asset for our Center in that access to capital is one of the goals we give high priority in helping clients to secure more loans for expanding their businesses.”
Smith said through strategic partnership initiatives and providing innovative and interactive training his goal is to build and brand the center as the Baton Rouge market epicenter for small business planning, training and growth.
“By providing our local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs the tools and resources needed for their growth and success, we here at the LSBDC are not only assisting our local business owners in their growth efforts, but also contributing positivity to the state’s overall economy,” Smith said.
He added that the LSBDC is a much needed and untapped resource of wealth and knowledge to assist small business owners throughout the state.
“Now more than ever, our local and state economy can benefit from the services that LSBDC offers to the citizens of Louisiana,” Smith said. “In a state that simultaneously houses one of the fastest growing markets in the country as well as one of the most distressed, the growth and success of Louisiana small businesses play an in important role in our State’s economy.”