BATON ROUGE, La. – Fifteen small businesses from across the state have been selected to participate in the third annual Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative, a Louisiana Economic Development program targeting accelerated business growth for minority- and women-owned companies. This year’s initiative launched Nov. 14 via a partnership between LED and the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation.
“In Louisiana, our small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, bringing unique flavors, products and services to our state, enriching the cultural tapestry that makes Louisiana so special,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “I am extremely proud of our Small Business Services team in continuing to aggressively seek new ways to develop and deliver impactful programs. We appreciate our partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation and their willingness to work with us and build upon our robust support of small businesses statewide.”
The participating firms, located throughout the state, are considered second-stage businesses. Second-stage firms typically have 10 to 99 employees and are poised for further growth, often spurred by selling products and services in out-of-state markets and bringing new dollars back to their communities. Common issues for second-stage businesses include building a management team, sustaining growth and focusing on new opportunities. This year’s group comprises a diverse range of industries including advertising, marketing, mental health services, software development and manufacturing.
Businesses participating in the 2023 LED Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative include:
- Alfaro Bros Concrete Construction, Gonzales
- Audio Appliance Experts, Geismar
- Center For Thriving Families, Lafayette
- Codegig, Baton Rouge
- Co-Jak Ventures (All Star Signs & Specialties), Lafayette
- Creativity Justified, Slidell
- Germ Slayers Cleaning & Maintenance Solutions, Donaldsonville
- HR Professional Consulting, Covington
- K-Belle Consultants, New Orleans
- LAP Services, Baton Rouge
- Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade, Baton Rouge
- Louisiana Internal Medicine & Pediatric Associates, Baton Rouge
- New Orleans Beverage Group, New Orleans
- Team Dynamics, Mandeville
- The Royal Treatment, Baton Rouge
The program kicked off with three days of retreat-style meetings in a virtual setting. Using a blend of content, dialogue, strategic research and peer learning, the program seeks to understand specific challenges to growth and to identify solutions for scaling each business. Each company will now participate in its own one-on-one strategic research engagement through the System for Integrated Growth, a program that provides access to expert specialists who generate customized information aligned with company needs. In addition, the group will reconvene for three monthly peer-learning roundtable meetings starting in December.
“We’re excited to have a third cohort begin the LED Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative,” said Dan Wyant, chairman and president of the Edward Lowe Foundation. “Second-stage companies are critical to a robust economy. These entrepreneurs face unique challenges as they continue to scale, which is especially true for minority and women business owners. The Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative provides a powerful package of services that enables participants to overcome specific obstacles, hone their leadership skills and forge peer relationships to accelerate future growth.”
Graduates of the program will become members of the LED Growth Network, which consists of nearly 700 companies that employ more than 22,600 employees and generate over $4.2 billion in annual sales.
LED and the Edward Lowe Foundation hope to expand the initiative to more companies and communities in future years. For more information on the LED Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative program, contact Johnna Johnson, Small Business Services Program Manager, at 225.342.4492 or Johnna.Johnson@la.gov.
About The Edward Lowe Foundation
The Edward Lowe Foundation was established in 1985 by Ed and Darlene Lowe to leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development. The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives focus on second-stage companies, which are growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but have not yet reached maturity. Its peer learning, leadership education and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing. For more information, visit EdwardLowe.org.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, a longtime national leader in customized workforce development. LED also supports a wide range of higher ed partnerships that Business Facilities magazine recently credited for Louisiana’s ranking as the No. 1 Tech Talent Pipeline in the U.S. In 2022, LED attracted 53 new economic development projects representing 18,137 new direct, indirect and retained jobs and $20.7 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.