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September 28, 2007

LSBDC applauded for excellence

Small businesses have always been the economic engine for Louisiana, and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) was honored as one of the best in the nation in helping small businesses get started and grow. The statewide LSBDC Network has a State Office and a local center located at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

On behalf of the LSBDC network, LSBDC State Director Mary Lynn Wilkerson accepted the award for “achieving a high quality of excellence in small business service delivery” at the U.S. Small Business Administration conference in Denver Sept. 17. This award came on the heels of LSBDC earning unconditional reaccreditation.

“We are very excited about receiving the SBA award and our reaccreditation from the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), because it validates that we are a quality program. We focus on being an economic development program for the state. We help new or existing small business owners build their businesses and create jobs in their community,” said Wilkerson.

After a comprehensive review, ASBDC reaccredited LSBDC without any conditions. In the report, the accrediting agency notes: “the Louisiana SBDC has made a commendable contribution to the disaster recovery efforts in the state of Louisiana and undergone a dramatic and significant advancement of the program in a relatively short period of time.”

The accreditation team also found: “strong leadership, provided by the State Director’s Office and the host institution (ULM),” “competent and dedicated staff at the centers throughout the state,” “real commitment to the SBDC network,” “exceptional recovery activities and international trade,” and “a partnership with (LED) Louisiana Economic Development in which the contribution of the small business sector is recognized.”

“This milestone is a team effort. It wouldn’t have been possible to get where we are today without everyone being engaged and focused on creating a quality program that helps small businesses,” said Wilkerson.

Over the past six years, the LSBDC has counseled 20,520 entrepreneurs. With LSBDC assistance, 6,778 new jobs were created and nearly $359 million in financing was obtained.

An economic impact study conducted by the ASBDC shows that during a four-year period from 2000-2005, the LSBDC helped small businesses save 3,188 jobs. During that same period, the state tax revenue generated by LSBDC clients and their employees totaled more than $7.2 million, and the federal tax revenue totaled nearly $12.2 million.

The LSBDC is a network of nine centers statewide—the State Office and a local center are in ULM’s Administration Building. The program helps entrepreneurs and existing businesses start, develop and grow by providing high quality individual counseling, business education classes, information resources, and specialized services. The LSBDC is a partnership between the U.S. SBA, the Louisiana Economic Development, and participating host universities.

LSBDC centers are located in Monroe (ULM), Shreveport (LSUS), Alexandria/Natchitoches area (NSU), Lake Charles (McNeese), Lafayette (ULL), Baton Rouge (SUBR), Hammond (SELU), and the Greater New Orleans/Thibodaux area (a collaboration of UNO, SUNO, Loyola, and South Louisiana Economic Council).

To find a center near you, log onto:

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