Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards proclaimed February as the first-ever Rural Outreach Assistance Month for small businesses in Louisiana (ROAM), an effort founded and led by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) to ignite economic development and small business growth and expansion in Louisiana’s rural parishes.
During the month of February, the LSBDC encourages the state to celebrate its small businesses and economic development organizations in rural areas who assist in stimulating Louisiana’s economy. ROAM is an opportunity for Louisiana to explore the culture and develop the community of the state’s remote areas.
LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said everyone is aware of the importance of small businesses to local, state and national economic development and “assistance from the Louisiana SBDC is prevalent in urban and suburban communities in Louisiana with a high concentration of small businesses.”
“However, the much less dense concentration of small businesses in our rural areas cannot be ignored,” Kessler said. “Often, just a few small businesses in a rural area have the same impact to that local community as a multitude of businesses have within high populations.”
The LSBDC is partnering with Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC) and the SBDC at University of Louisiana Monroe to host a two-hour workshop on Tuesday, February 20 at 5:30 p.m. for small businesses in rural areas located in central Louisiana, northwest Louisiana and northeast Louisiana. The workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs understand the basics of starting a business, how to obtain capital to finance the business and also learn how to use business-to-business communication as a means to grow clientele.
Kessler said the LSBDC recognizes the need to focus on, and assist the small businesses in rural Louisiana “and are undertaking a wider variety of programs to lend professional assistance, and to highlight that importance.”
The workshop will be conducted at LDCC’s Monroe Campus located at 7500 Millhaven Road, and streamed via video/audio technology to LDCC campuses in Winnsboro, Bastrop, Tallulah, Ruston, Jonesboro, West Monroe and Lake Providence. The workshop will also be available for viewing at other community colleges in central Louisiana and northwest Louisiana.
LSBDC Marketing Manager DeRon Talley said being able to collaborate with LDCC and SBDC at ULM on this outreach initiative enables the LSBDC to truly assist rural Louisiana.
“Rural Louisiana is definitely on the LSBDC’s radar to get more small business and entrepreneurship information and resources to,” Talley said. “Some of our most innovative clients have often come from rural areas and we know there are a lot gems and jewels in the areas outside of our major metro areas who are driving our local economies.”