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September 28, 2006

Sen. Landrieu announces grants for ULM

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) State Office located on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe has been awarded $586,643 in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The grants will assist small business owners in Louisiana in the ongoing recovery and rebuilding after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The grants will be administered by Mary Lynn Wilkerson, LSBDC state director.

“I consider the Louisiana SBDCs to be an important part of our response to the recovery of Louisiana’s small businesses,” U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said. “I am pleased to announce that they will be getting $586,000 in grants from the SBA to continue and expand their services in the hurricane-impacted areas.”

The new grants will help provide an invaluable service to small businesses, Wilkerson, said. "Many small business owners have a need for confidential counseling sessions that address concerns about a variety of their business issues, such as 'Does the current business model still work? Are there ways to increase sales? How much money do I really need to borrow? Is my website working for me?'”

The LSBDC will use the money to hire additional business counselors who will work with entrepreneurs across southern Louisiana on special projects, and help local small businesses increase revenue by giving them access to larger shares of contracts with big businesses in their area, and provide downloadable tools for small business owners to use.

“The LSBDC needs all of the boots on the street along with all of the resources we can get to help small business owners rebuild or prepare to start new businesses,” Wilkerson said.

The Louisiana SBDC network has provided individual counseling to more than 1,700 small business owners that were affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and have provided other services (such as answers to disaster-related questions and training small business owners on how to apply for disaster loans) to over 6,000 business owners. If your business is in need of assistance, call 1-866-782-4159.

The Louisiana SBDC is a nationally accredited program and a member of the Association of Small Business Development Centers with access to best practices nationwide. It is the only statewide organization that provides services at the local level to entrepreneurs through free confidential counseling and low cost training.

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