BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Economic Development is launching a new program to connect small businesses with mentor companies that can provide technical and developmental assistance.
The Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program seeks to assist small and emerging businesses, including those owned by minorities, women and veterans. Mentor companies participating in the program help in building the capacity of protégé businesses to compete for public- and private-sector opportunities.
“This administration is committed to providing inclusive programs that will provide real support and assistance to the growth of Louisiana small businesses,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Small businesses employ more than 53 percent of our private-sector workforce, and their success is important for our state’s economy. The new Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program further illustrates our goal of assisting small businesses with sustainability and growth.”
Under the program, companies work together for a year, with an option for renewing the partnership for up to two additional years. As part of the application process, protégé companies identify business practices in which they need assistance, and mentor companies offer to provide assistance in specific areas. Mentorship activities can include a range of business activities, such as financial management, inventory control, access to capital, risk management and marketing.
“This program helps our mentor companies build a diverse and qualified supply chain of contractors and suppliers, while protégé businesses get assistance to avoid pitfalls that deter business success,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “The result is business growth, increased jobs and an expanded economy. This is an outstanding opportunity for mentor companies to set an example in the community and lead the way for others in the future.”
LED is accepting applications for protégé companies to enter the program. Applicants must be certified in LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development program and be in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office. The protégé pool is made available to mentor companies, and the companies can select protégé companies at their discretion.
To apply, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/