The Louisiana Small Business Development Center’s impact is easily seen from a numbers perspective, but it’s always nice to see quantity translated into quality. The quality was on full display at the annual Louisiana Small Business Awards in Baton Rouge on May 3 hosted by Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The LSBDC network was recognized as LED’s 2017 Resource Partner of the Year, and LED Secretary Don Pierson said the state always takes the opportunity to recognize the small business of Louisiana, “but it’s also important to recognize those who work with the businesses every day and provide much needed assistance in times of disaster.”
“The LSBDC continues to provide direct benefit to this partnership, particularly through the disaster recovery process, as we all saw last year when we had flooding in all four corners of our state,” Pierson said.
Despite the flood disasters in the last fiscal year, the LSBDC network helped start 180 new businesses, create 916 jobs and generate over $35 million in new sales for Louisiana entrepreneurs. That success wasn’t done single handedly.
“When I was asked how best to inscribe the plaque we were to receive, I asked that every center in the network and each member of the staff be represented,” LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said. “Obviously, that was too much to include on one brass tag – but that is who should be recognized; each and every member of the LSBDC contributed significantly to being a premier resource partner and I am proud to be a part of that degree of teamwork.”
The LSBDC network award, wasn’t the only recognition garnered for the small business development centers.
SBA District Director Mike Ricks named the LSBDC Southeastern Louisiana University as the state and Region VI SBDC Service Excellence and Innovation Center for 2016, which acknowledges it as the top SBDC in the state and region that covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and puts the center in the top 10 rank nationally.
The LSBDC Southeastern Louisiana University is no stranger to state, regional and even national SBA awards.
This marks the fourth time it has been named state honoree, third regionally, and in 2015 was named the national SBDC of the year.
“It’s considered to be a one-stop-shop business center,” Ricks said.
“They’ve stimulated the local economy by creating and saving thousands of jobs, raising billions of dollars in capital infusion, and increasing the knowledge of business owners. During historic floods, the center was tasked with establishing all business recovery centers on the Northshore,” Ricks said.
LSBDC Southeastern Louisiana University Director Bill Joubert said the award is an honor to receive but it really is a community award.
“It speaks to our relationships with our funding partners, Southeastern La. University, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, SBA, LSBDC, non-profits, elected official and local governments,” Joubert said.
“While I am extremely proud of our staff: Sandy Summers, Wayne Ricks and Brandy Boudreaux, we simply could not do this without our partnerships,” Joubert said.
Secretary Pierson said the state has a diverse portfolio of small businesses, “and we seek to honor that.”
“We don’t take our eye off the ball as we know that our small businesses are making a very important contribution,” Pierson said.
LSBDC Greater New Orleans and Bayou Region (LSBDC GNOBR) client Alejandro Hernandez of Hernandez Consulting & Construction was named SBA Louisiana Small Business Person of the Year.
Hernandez founded Hernandez Construction in 2005 in New Orleans. Inc. Magazine named the business as part of the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in the United States.
Other clients of respective LSBDC service centers that were recognized for business excellence include: Tiya Scroggins of Scroggins Consulting, LLC, was named SBA 8(a) Graduate of the Year (LSBDC University of Louisiana Monroe); Elizabeth Shepherd of Life City was named SBA Green and Sustainable Business Award (LSBDC Greater New Orleans Bayou Region); and Tom Sawyer of Automotive Alignment & Brake Service was named SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year (LSBDC McNeese State University).
Pierson added: “I can’t speak highly enough about the importance and the job of the SBA to Louisiana. Day-to-day, with our small business development centers, they provide the important tools needed to assist entrepreneurs in making our state’s economy vibrant. And also, importantly they are here when there is disaster and disaster recovery at the forefront. They are our very strong partner.”