As part of our mission, our Chamber offers business support in a variety of capacities, and strives to maintain a relationship with other entities that do the same. In particular, our Chamber provides an outlet to the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) at Southeastern Louisiana University, which is part of a statewide network of centers that provide consulting and training for businesses.
The LSBDC’s area of service includes the parishes of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Helena and Livingston. They provide confidential one-on-one consulting for startup businesses that need assistance with writing a business plan, creating financial projections, marketing research, etc. Their consultants also assist many existing business owners with various issues such as hiring and retaining employees, valuing a business, understanding financial statements and more. The LSBDC is not limited to one area of business assistance --they assist any type of business in any stage of their business. Fifty percent of their current clients are startup and 50% are existing business owners.
The LSBDC also offers many opportunities for training. They provide information on topics that are timely and useful for area businesses. Some classes that the LSBDC at Southeastern offers include: Buying and Selling a Small Business, How to Attract and Maintain Customers, 5 Steps to Secure Financing, QuickBooks Pro, Human Resource Management, Tax Updates and many more.
Their consulting and training services are offered in locations throughout the area. There is no cost for consulting services and most of their classes are low or no cost. The program is grant funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and Southeastern Louisiana University.
Since 2002, the center has assisted businesses with obtaining loans and capital totaling more than $250 million. The business plans have an 80% success rate raising capital with a startup or expansion occurring every two weeks. Since 2002, more than 8,000 people have attended their business seminars.
"Our center is happy to assist with the startup and expansion of businesses on the Northshore,” states Sandy Summers, Assistant Director and Training Coordinator for LSBDC. "Proper planning is one of the keys to a successful business and our program is equipped to give critical tools that will help companies survive and thrive”.
To book an appointment with a LSBDC consultant, contact the Chamber at 892-3216. Sessions are held at our office, on the first Thursday of each month.