A resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners has relocated to a Shreveport-Bossier campus in the hopes of collaborating to better serve workforce and economic development.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) Northwest and Central Region office has moved from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches to the campus of Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC).
The office officially opened Monday, Oct. 1.
The center provides business expertise and resources to existing and start-up small business in the areas of business development, market information and research, business finance, marketing, and training at no cost to clients in 14 parishes.
“[Entrepreneurs] have to wear many, many hats, and when these future business owners come to us they sometimes lack the vision on how to execute starting their own business. And we are the people that handhold these visionaries through the process of starting and succeeding in the community,” said Dana Cawthon, director of the LSBDC northwest and central region.
The LSBDC center will be connected to BPCC’s division of economic and workforce development. It will be a comprehensive, full service organization providing access points to support local start ups and small businesses throughout the parishes of central and northwest Louisiana.
Cawthon said she hopes to marry the effort of Dr. Gayle Flowers, BPCC’s vice chancellor for economic and workforce development, with her abilities and add value to the clients they’re serving.
“She’s trying to build that workforce development for those companies and making sure they’re trained and have the right skill set, and I’m trying to make them more profitable in valuing their business or helping that business owner,” Cawthon explained.
BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman described the office as a new component in their menu of services designed to foster job growth and innovation.
“Supporting job creation and economic development is not new to Bossier Parish Community College, but this partnership with the LSBDC will advance our efforts to create an ecosystem that embraces, instills, and inspires entrepreneurship by creating a flow of talent, information and resources to the entrepreneurs as they need it.”
The move has been in the works for two years because Shreveport-Bossier is the biggest market in the LSBDC’s region and, perhaps more importantly, they saw demand.
“There was a desire and openness from the leadership at Northwestern for this move. Collaborating with Dr. Maggio and Dana to see the potential and the strength in our economic and workforce development community, it seemed to be a natural fit,” said Dr. Bateman.
“I found out that I really did need to be up here and I needed to find a host here…Everybody wanted us to be here — Centenary, LSUS, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern Technical College — and it was a better fit here at BPCC because of Dr. Bateman and Dr. Flowers. That’s what sold me on it,” said Cawthon.
[This story was originally published in the Oct. 1, 2018 edition of BIZ.]