Success Stories

LSBDC at ULL makes a splash with the Pond Doctor

“The LSBDC at ULL was very helpful in making my dream become a reality,” Bertrand said. “I had the op­portunity to discuss strategy and develop a business plan to secure my loan. In addition, the center functions as a resource that I can always access as a business owner.”

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When you see a demand and create the only supply, your business is set for success. With the help of the LSBDC at ULL, David Bertrand has started his business, the Pond Doctor, and is moving in the right direction.

Pond Doctor is a service-type business offering the re­moval of weeds found in ponds, bayous, fisheries and streams. The services provided by Pond Doctor using an amphibious vehicle are not currently offered in Louisiana or adjacent surrounding states.

Talk about a unique start-up right?

“The LSBDC at ULL was very helpful in making my dream become a reality,” Bertrand said. “I had the op­portunity to discuss strategy and develop a business plan to secure my loan. In addition, the center functions as a resource that I can always access as a business owner.”

The LSBDC helped Bertrand develop his business plan, financial models and price structuring, and marketing. Bertrand was able to receive $240,000 in capital, start his business and has been successfully moving towards strong business growth.

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Health-e Habits for Living

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette helped Jill Hurley plan, build, brand and grow her business Health-e Habits for Living.

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Diets have come and gone over the decades but the solution for weight loss that has always stood the test of time has been healthy eating and exercise. In twenty years as an occupational therapist, Jill Hurley learned that obese patients could best be cared for by a 360-degree approach that encouraged entire lifestyle changes.


In 2008, Hurley put that belief into action and founded Healthe Habits for Living, a unique organization that helps clients eat better, exercise more, lose weight and improve the quality of their life. Focusing on the mental challenges behind making the changes, they also incorporate intense behavioral therapy.


“After I started losing weight and saw what a challenge it was, I realized I could help others. There are a lot of mental challenges and we have strategies to help lose weight and keep it off,” she said.


Hurley put her idea into action through help from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. With virtually no business experience, Hurley wanted to find consultants that could help her handle the administrative tasks of getting the business up and running so, she could focus on her job as a clinician. Hurley worked with the center for six months and then worked on start-up tasks and research for two years before opening her doors.


The center assisted by helping with everything from writing a business plan and web site design to branding and a developing company identity package. They also helped Hurley fine tune her marketing plan to target and lure the right clientele once she opened her doors. Having never worked in the business world before, Hurley also found human resource issues a challenge and she worked with a center consultant to put together policies and procedures to make sure that everything was in accordance with labor laws and standards.


Healthe Habits opened its doors with approximately 20 patients per month and has now grown to serve a volume of more than double that. Healthe Habits also offers classes in everything from Pilates and Zumba to Belly Dancing and Taekwondo. They also offer Camp Healthe, a 16-week program where participants meet once a week to inspire and encourage their lifestyle changes in dieting, exercise and positive thought. Hurley still consults with the center on occasion to help manage the company’s growth.


“We now talk about how to grow the business, business strategy and sometimes legal issues or advice, or where to go for certain things. They’ve been a great help,” she said.


Contact us today to learn how the LSBDC can help grow your business!

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Eagle Capital Management

Eagle Capital Management, a Metairie-based financial services company, was able to strengthen and improve their business continuity plan with the help of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at University of Louisiana Lafayette.

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When Hurricane Katrina struck southeastern Louisiana in 2005, it was a wake up call for many small businesses. Thousands of business owners had to temporarily relocate their operations to Baton Rouge and Lafayette for weeks, even months. Some closed their doors with Katrina and never reopened, others never went back to New Orleans. Those who weathered the disaster learned that a business continuity plan was essential to their recovery.   Metairie-based Eagle Capital Management, with over $180 Million in assets under management, survived Katrina's fury, but Executive Vice President Ken Ross eventually saw need for improvement. Sometimes a continuity plan needs to be put to the test before vulnerabilities can be discovered. Until Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans businesses were used to evacuating for a few days then returning home. Few were prepared to be shut out of their city for a month or more.   "You're always looking to make things better. You always planned on being back in a few days but it wasn't that way in Katrina. There were some glitches we wanted to work out," said Ross.   Ross contacted the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at UL Lafayette in 2009 and enlisted the services of Business Continuity Consultant Glen Curole. They worked together to identify areas where the continuity plan could be improved and went over insurance information, relocation contingencies and how to get the business back up and running in the event of a disaster. They also reviewed many risks the business faced from hurricanes and floods to technology failures and national disasters. For each one of those events, they identified ideal solutions and contingencies.   Because Eagle Capital Management's most important asset is its client and market information, one of the most important elements was checking double redundancy to protect data and be able to access it in the event of a disaster.  A contingency was also set up to secure temporary office space in Lafayette to allow for a seamless transition should another disaster arise.   "One major problem we had was that our cell phones didn't work. The problem surfaced when the local phone company lost several central offices due to flooding. As a result, the database containing information to allow incoming cell phone calls to be completed was also lost. With assistance from LSBDC Business Continuity Consultant Curole, Eagle Capital Management developed a new strategy to ensure continued communication and operations of their firm. The revised plan now includes securing cell phones with area codes outside of New Orleans. That way, even though the local cell phone database is lost Eagle Capital will still be able to receive incoming calls if towers are operational because the database needed to complete the call will reside in a different city.   One of the most important things about the new business continuity plan is that it has been codified and put in writing. Curole said it is critical to document plans so they can be shared with employees and provide a solid roadmap to recovery.   "The purpose of business continuity planning is to increase the odds that your company will survive a disaster. We help small businesses thoroughly prepare for the risks and help them plan accordingly. Your clients and employees are counting on you," said Curole.


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Storm Guard of LA, LLC

Storm Guard formed a strong relationship with the LSBDC at UL Lafayette and deems the cooperation as an invaluable resource for providing guidance and support in making strategic business decisions.

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Both Marine Corps veterans who served together in Iraq, the Florida-based husband-and-wife team of James and Katrina Nowosielski had a dream of opening their own business. With strong family roots in Louisiana, the couple decided to move here following the hurricanes of 2005 and open a business providing storm protection products for property owners.   Working with the LSBDC at UL Lafayette even while still living in Florida, the Nowosielskis began to put together their vision of the company, its financial needs and market focus. Once the couple moved to the Lafayette area and continued their collaboration with the LSBDC at UL Lafayette, they executed their plan to establish and grow their new company.   With a Small Business Administration-guaranteed line of credit, the company started out of a home office with a workshop at a small family owned building. Subsequently, sales continue to increase and assure sustainability for this small business.   Storm Guard, LLC specializes in the sales, installation and manufacture of hurricane protective products including roll-down, accordion-style shutters and metal hurricane panels. The company currently employs 3 full-time and 2 part-time employees and, with the expansion of manufacturing into its own line of shutters and powder-coating applications, the company intends to hire additional employees, particuarly U.S. military veterans.   Storm Guard of LA is now an active member of the International Hurricane Protective Association, American Shutter Systems Association and the Acadian Home Builders Association.   The company has continued its relationship with the LSBDC at UL Lafayette and deems the cooperation as an invaluable resource for providing guidance and support in making strategic business decisions.   Additionally, James and Katrina credit the U.S. military for their strong work effort and the ability to get the job done. In addition to being military veterans, James and Katrina are young entrepreneurs that have returned to Louisiana to invest in their community. They look forward to great possibilities for the future in developing a sustainable business and producing quality job opportunities for the state of Louisiana.   The Nowosielski's long range goal is to become the manufacturing hub for the Western Gulf Coast Region.
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537 Cajundome Blvd. Suite 236
Lafayette, LA 70506
Phone: (337) 482-6312

M - Th 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
F 8:00 am to 12:00 pm




Parishes Served:
Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion