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Founded in 2000, Step-Ko Products, LLC is a global provider of corrosion protective products, with sales in over 42 countries. Step-Ko manufactures products for the cathodic protection industry and specifically produces flange protection products, pipeline corrosion protection, insulated enclosures, and pipeline markers for industrial and oil and gas applications. Though the company has seen tremendous success, Step-Ko faced several challenges along the way, particularly with getting the word out about their services to a larger and broader customer base.
Step-Ko received assistance early on through their use of the Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program administered by LED. Familiar with this program, Step-Ko turned to LED’s small business resources again for strategic research through LED's Economic Gardening Initiative in order to assist with the company’s growth strategies. Their participation in Economic Gardening helped identify new customers and innovative applications for the company's products. This engagement helped to foster sales growth outside of Louisiana and the larger region.
Through the SEBD Program, Step-Ko worked with two of LED’s SEBD Intermediaries: the Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana. With the guidance of these two intermediaries, Step-Ko was able to receive assistance with website development, industry specific training and quality management consulting for ISO:9001. The assistance in these areas helped with running of the day-to-day business, improvement of operations, and the enhancement of product design and application.
Economic Gardening Initiative and Small and Emerging Business Development Program give Step-Ko boost
Since receiving assistance through Economic Gardening and the SEBD Program, Step-Ko has experienced an increase in sales of more than 100 percent and created 11 new full time jobs. The company has recently doubled the size of their current facility and was able to fully fund the project internally. For their incredible commitment to excellence and growth, Step-Ko was recognized as the 2015 LED Small and Emerging Business of the Year.
“The small business programs offered by Louisiana Economic Development have been instrumental in helping focus on long-term growth strategies that have certainly paid off,” said Step-Ko owner Byron Stephens. “We have grown 100 percent in sales since utilizing these resources and look forward to greater possibilities in the future.”