The climb to the top of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) network and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Region VI took four years for Center Director Heidi Melancon and the LSBDC at University of Louisiana Lafayette (LSBDC at ULL). Each year, the LSBDC at ULL improved its economic impact and increased its performance and outreach in the Acadiana Region, setting itself up to be recognized in May at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge as the 2018 SBA Region VI SBDC Excellence and Innovation Center Award, which is comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
“Excellence and innovation has been the personal tag line for Heidi Melancon ever since she began as a bright light for the LSBDC, as a consultant and financial professional,” LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said.
In the last fiscal year alone, the LSBDC at ULL helped secure $19.3 Million in capitalization for their clients, started 29 new businesses, created 109 jobs, and help clients grow sales by $1.9 million.
Kessler said, “The excellence piece was always apparent from stellar performance, but the innovation portion more subtle, yet extremely effective through her ability to meet multiple challenges at the Center. Heidi only needed enough time as a Director to light her staff, and consequently her Center, with enough of her excellence and innovation glow to shine the brightest in the region.”
The LSBDC at ULL maintained ahead of trends by developing models and best practices and routinely sharing these best practices with the other service centers in Louisiana. The center successfully implemented all SBA initiatives at a high level, helped expand Louisiana Economic Development’s Small & Emerging Business Development Program and Peer-to-Peer Roundtable, and created a Spanish language pre-venture orientation class and many other contributions to entrepreneurship and economic development.
Melancon said she and her team are “truly humbled by this award and very honored to be recognized for our work and contributions to entrepreneurship.”
“My team is incredible and very dedicated to serving the Acadiana region,” Melancon said. “It’s a team effort and excellence comes when all are dedicated to the same goal.”
The center serves the eight-parish region known as the Acadiana made up by parishes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, Saint Landry, Saint Martin, Saint Mary and Vermilion. Some of its clients in the Acadiana Region who have recently excelled are Pond Doctor, Ross Tire & Service, Crazy Bout Crawfish, All-Star Signs, and Robin T. LeBlanc, CPA, CGMA, LLC. With a team of four – Director Heidi Melancon, Business Consultant Phillip Russo, Business Consultant Lauren Titus, and Administrative Assistant Stacy Porter – the LSBDC at ULL stood out most in the state and SBA Region VI.
Melancon added, “It is all about the clients that we serve and we take pride in helping them achieve their goals.”