Thursday, April 18, 2024

Fifteen Louisiana businesses selected for 2023 Diversity in Entrepreneurship Initiative

by BIZ Magazine

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:

  1. Alfaro Bros Concrete Construction, Gonzales
  2. Audio Appliance Experts, Geismar
  3. Center For Thriving Families, Lafayette
  4. Codegig, Baton Rouge
  5. Co-Jak Ventures (All Star Signs & Specialties), Lafayette
  6. Creativity Justified, Slidell
  7. Germ Slayers Cleaning & Maintenance Solutions, Donaldsonville
  8. HR Professional Consulting, Covington
  9. K-Belle Consultants, New Orleans
  10. LAP Services, Baton Rouge
  11. Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade, Baton Rouge
  12. Louisiana Internal Medicine & Pediatric Associates, Baton Rouge
  13. New Orleans Beverage Group, New Orleans
  14. Team Dynamics, Mandeville
  15. 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.

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