Net GrowthSmall Business Development Centers Equip Louisiana Entrepreneurs for Expansion
In 2013, the owners of North Cypress Fitness Center in Hammond, Louisiana, decided to double the family health club’s size and make it one of the largest group exercise studios in the state.
Before the owners committed to a 31,000-square-foot addition, they needed some thought guidance. After being helped on a prior project by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) at Southeastern Louisiana University, CEO Olaf Ross went back to the small business experts to ensure his fitness center was still on track for becoming a quality second-stage business.
It was. The LSBDC helped the fitness center secure $3 million in capital for the project.
“We came to the LSBDC in the early stages of planning our first fitness center,” Ross says. “The advice and direction we received was a huge help to us years ago, so we have worked with them many times over the years.”
For Louisiana entrepreneurs and established business owners seeking a new stage of growth, the state’s LSBDC network can provide a safety net and a strategic lifeline for success. The network of 11 Small Business Development Centers are positioned to reach clients in all 64 Louisiana parishes.
“Entrepreneurs sometimes get stumped on what to do next to reach that threshold. But when they come to us, they leave with great impact for their business and the community.”
LSBDC Director of Marketing and Communications Na’Tisha Nelson Natt said North Cypress is just one of many examples.
“We pride ourselves in being able to take businesses into the next growth phase,” Natt says. “Whether it’s second-stage or beyond that, we are here to grow businesses.”
In its effort to drive small business development, LSBDC helped start 169 new businesses, create 747 new jobs and assist clients in logging $44 million in new sales during the 2014-15 fiscal year.
LSBDC also joins Louisiana Economic Development in a strong push for rural development.
LBSDC helped Acacia Industries in Keithville (shown above) secure $576,500 in capital to purchase a new building.
“You’d be surprised at the growth potential of the businesses in the rural areas,” says LSBDC State Director Rande Kessler. “Entrepreneurs sometimes get stumped on what to do next to reach that threshold. But when they come to us, they leave with great impact for their business and the community.”
Acacia Industries – located in Keithville, Louisiana – reached out to an LBSDC at Northwestern State University in Shreveport, seeking expansion guidance as well. The company sells and rents traffic cones, electronic signs and other traffic safety equipment for use in road construction projects across the U.S.
The LSBDC site helped Acacia owner Carla Maynard secure $576,500 in capital to purchase a new building, which has helped the company grow into an industry leader.
“We appreciate the assistance we were given and plan to look for more ways where LSBDC can help us in the future,” Maynard says. “They are a valuable tool that can help small business grow and develop.”