Coding Success: Louisiana’s Software Development Advantages
The software development industry is thriving in Louisiana. With the nation’s strongest, most comprehensive incentive for the industry, strategic investments in higher education and alignment from the state to local levels, Louisiana gives software development companies a competitive edge.
Through a comprehensive approach, the state has helped software and technology companies like CSRA, CenturyLink, EA, IBM, GE, CGI, Waitr, DXC Technology and more to:
Open new development centers
Expand new divisions
Consolidate testing facilities
Relocate central operations
“When selecting a location for a center of this importance, we considered many attractive options across the country. Louisiana rose to the top of our list because of the advantages it offers in terms of talent, infrastructure, location and environment.”
Louisiana’s High-Tech Talent
With its existing workforce and through strategic investments in higher education programs, Louisiana is on the path to becoming one of the top states in computer science graduate production.
Technology companies in Louisiana have ready access to a skilled workforce that includes over 23,000 informational technology professionals. Software and digital media clusters are emerging around the state in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport, bolstering Louisiana’s vision of a technology ecosystem.
Louisiana is committed to rapidly growing its current and future software workforce through investments totaling more than $38 million in the computer science and engineering departments of higher education institutions across the state, including Louisiana State University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans, Louisiana Tech University, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. These investments were made in conjunction with project announcements in the state by CGI, CSRA, IBM, GE and CenturyLink.
Strategic Investments in Higher Education Expand Talent Pipeline
As part of the IBM project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana committed to invest $14 million over 10 years in computer science programs — with at least 65 percent of those funds dedicated to the LSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This funding will enable LSU to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of annual computer science graduates within five years. For IBM, this partnership allows for input on university curricula and delivers the talent pipeline to meet the workforce needs of IBM and others.
As a component of GE’s 300-job technology center in New Orleans, Louisiana is providing $500,000 per year for 10 years to higher education institutions to fund software development-focused academic programs in New Orleans. These programs are being developed in a collaborative process that includes LED, GE and higher-education leaders, with a focus on growing the future software development talent pipeline in the area.
Through LED FastStart®, GE and the University of New Orleans have established an innovative Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SWEAP), designed to provide GE with highly trained and immediately productive graduates.
“In any decision like this there are myriad factors that contribute to the decision. But for us it ultimately came down to the strength of the technology skills pipeline — the sheer potential of the people in Louisiana — and the quality of the partnership we’re building with the public sector on multiple levels — the state, Baton Rouge and the university system.”
LED FastStart Delivers Customized Workforce Solutions
LED FastStart, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program, provides customized services for software development companies locating or expanding in the state – all at no cost to the company.
With only one goal, client satisfaction, FastStart partners with each company’s subject matter experts to analyze and study their unique workforce requirements. After determining the competencies that match the cultural and technical abilities that define the most successful employee, the FastStart team employs both traditional and innovative methods to recruit talent to meet each company’s specific requirements.
For GE, LED FastStart was able to provide workforce analytics identifying sources of talent available to the company, including in-state professionals, graduate and undergraduate statistics and out-of-state recruiting. FastStart then executed a custom recruiting plan to address GE’s specific needs. At the dedication of the Technology Center in April 2013, GE announced they were ahead of their hiring schedule.
FastStart also assisted IBM with recruiting, including at job fairs both in and out of Louisiana, as well as through online advertising. By September 2013, IBM had hired more than 100 employees — a milestone the company was not scheduled to reach until June 2014.
“The people here have an amazing energy and friendly way that can only be understood when you visit. We’re proud to be part of the first wave of companies that will help establish Louisiana as the next major high-tech center.”
Software Development Incentives Stacked for Success
Louisiana has the nation’s strongest, most comprehensive incentive for software development. Companies starting up, expanding or relocating in the state can receive a 25 percent refundable tax credit for payroll expenditures and an 18 percent refundable tax credit for qualified production expenditures.
The power of this statutory software development incentive is evident in its scope. Louisiana’s incentive is the only program in the nation dedicated wholly to software development, with no industry- or content-specific restrictions.
Enterprise Solutions: CRMs, MISs, ERP/ERMs, HRMs, CMs
Consumer: Interactive, experiential and off-the-shelf products
Applications: App development of all kinds, across all platforms
Analytics: BI, Big Data Tools
Services: SaaS, PaaS, ITaaS, BaaS
Gaming: Gaming across all platforms
Embedded: Firmware and systems software
Unlike cumbersome programs in other locations, Louisiana’s incentive is versatile, enabling software development companies to leverage it to meet their specific needs.
Convenience: LED serves as the central, one-stop-shop in administering the incentive program.
Ease: The incentive application process is straightforward and clean.
Transparency: Every company receives a master qualification certificate that serves as the comprehensive incentive summary.
Scalability: There are no minimums or caps, and the incentives grow as new employees and projects are added.
Flexibility: Companies may opt to receive their benefits more quickly than the year period, providing a sustainable and accessible cash flow mechanism.
In addition, Louisiana also offers the Quality Jobs program, which provides up to a 6 percent cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new, direct jobs for up to 10 years.
Flexible Incentive Packages Meet Project Needs
LED’s project teams will work with you to develop a customized incentive package to fit your project’s specific needs.
Global Delivery/Services Center: The Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive provides global delivery and services centers with significant, sustained cost savings on both payroll and production. Through the state’s scalable incentives, a Louisiana-based center provides higher margins, lower risk and a sustained competitive advantage. Additionally, this incentive can be stacked with the Quality Jobs program providing flexibility in the composition of the center. This cost benefit combines with an already low cost of doing business in Louisiana. With the services of LED FastStart and the state’s considerable investments into computer science and engineering, companies can find in Louisiana a current and future robust workforce solution.
Testing Center: Testing software is critical across all products and divisions. The Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive applies to all forms of software testing, meaning an organization can see significant cost savings by locating its testing resources in Louisiana. As a growing software development hub attracting companies like GE, CenturyLink and more, Louisiana is an ideal location for companies looking to significantly reduce cost while maintaining the high standards necessary to conduct software testing. Louisiana’s partnerships with universities mean access to a skilled workforce.
Dedicated Software Development Center: For centers entirely dedicated to software development, Louisiana’s software incentive and the services of LED FastStart can significantly reduce costs. The Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive will provide a payroll rebate on project managers, quality assurance, engineers, programmers, designers, composers, artists and more. With the option to receive 85 percent of the earned value as a rebate any time in the year, the incentive also provides an accessible cash flow mechanism. The 25 percent production expense rebate applies not only to production equipment, but also facility rental fees and permits. With investments by the state in higher education and the recruitment services of LED FastStart, development centers will also have access to a highly trained workforce.
A Hub for Software Innovation and Growth
At the core of Louisiana’s competitive advantages is the strength of its business climate. In recent years, the state has enacted reforms to create an atmosphere that Forbes magazine called, “America’s new frontier for business opportunity.” Louisiana now ranks in the Top 10 states in the country for business climate according to several national publications including Area Development and Site Selection magazines.
Louisiana Offers Competitive Business Taxes
Louisiana’s low-tax environment offers business operations significant cost savings. According to a recent 50-state analysis by the Tax Foundation and KPMG: Location Matters: The State Tax Costs of Doing Business, Louisiana's tax burden ranks among the top 10 lowest in the nation for new facilities, relocations, and facility expansions for a variety of firm types, including:
research and development facilities
Louisiana’s business climate, coupled with one of the country’s most vibrant, distinct and well-preserved cultures makes the state an exciting place to live, play and work.
Live, Play and Work in Louisiana
Louisiana offers a rich quality of life with its blend of historical influences, mild climate and diverse natural environments for year-round outdoor activities. Its steady line-up of festivals, cultural events, world-class food, music and art, also make it a fun place to live and host visitors.
Louisiana residents also enjoy a low cost of living, averaging 5 percent below the national average according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index. Housing and utility costs are traditionally the lowest cost categories for Louisiana residents relative to the national average, with Louisiana housing averages nearly 6 percent below the national average and residential utilities almost 14 percent below the U.S. average.
We see potential for meaningful and valued long-term relationships with higher education institutions in the state to enhance software engineering programs for students. The opportunities in New Orleans are truly incredible.”