Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards proclaimed February 2019 as Rural Outreach & Assistance Month for small businesses in Louisiana (ROAM), an effort founded and led by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) to ignite economic development and small business growth and expansion in Louisiana’s rural parishes. This is the second year Governor Edwards has supported the LSBDC initiative with a proclamation.
During the month of February, the LSBDC encourages the state to celebrate its small businesses and economic development organizations in rural areas who assist in stimulating Louisiana’s economy. ROAM is an opportunity for Louisiana to explore the culture and develop the community of the state’s remote areas.
LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler said everyone is aware of the importance of small businesses to local, state and national economic development and “assistance from the Louisiana SBDC is prevalent in urban and suburban communities in Louisiana with a high concentration of small businesses.”
“However, the much less dense concentration of small businesses in our rural areas cannot be ignored,” Kessler said. “Often, just a few small businesses in a rural area have the same impact to that local community as a multitude of businesses have within high populations.”
Kessler said the LSBDC recognizes the need to focus on, and assist the small businesses in rural Louisiana “and are undertaking a wider variety of programs to lend professional assistance, and to highlight that importance.”
LSBDC Marketing Manager DeRon Talley said Rural Louisiana is definitely on the LSBDC’s radar.
“Some of our most innovative clients have often come from rural areas and we know there are a lot of gems and jewels in the areas outside of our major metro areas who are driving our local economies,” Talley said.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center offers high-quality technical assistance to existing and start-up small businesses, and to small business entrepreneurs in Louisiana at no cost to the client. The Small Business Development Center Network is the largest provider of management and technical assistance for small businesses in the United States, and the LSBDC is a member of that network. The LSBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA, LED and participating institutions of higher education. The LSBDC was established in 1983 and is located strategically to service all 64 parishes in Louisiana. With seven regional centers throughout the state, the LSBDC offers an array of specialized consulting services including growth acceleration, international trade, government contracting, and emergency preparedness.