BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Economic Development has reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to developing, and advocating for, women- and minority-owned businesses in Louisiana. LED Secretary Don Pierson and other department leaders recently brought together a key group of organizations sharing those priorities, and participants signed a memorandum of understanding to form a Diversity Committee on Small Business.
“We are committed to ensuring that all of our Louisiana small businesses have access to opportunities to grow and succeed,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This committee will strengthen our efforts for inclusion and expand opportunities for all in the Louisiana economy.”
The committee will allow Louisiana to build interconnected systems that provide resources and opportunities to foster innovation and entrepreneurship through diversity. LED initially has coordinated the collaboration, and the committee will appoint a chair or co-chairs to lead the committee and convene meetings.
“LED sees great value in the formation of this Diversity Committee on Small Business,” Secretary Pierson said. “We are encouraged by the opportunities created for collaboration across various groups to strengthen and build upon the support for Louisiana’s minority- and women-owned businesses. This committee will lay the groundwork for aligning efforts and establishing additional support, multiplying the potential benefits for these diverse businesses that are essential to the Louisiana economy.”
The goal of the Diversity Committee on Small Business is to identify, align, strengthen and connect specific programs and resources currently available to women- and minority-owned businesses. It also will seek to identify gaps not addressed by those programs and resources, and find ways to fill those gaps to better assist these businesses.
The group will focus initially on providing assistance to women- and minority-owned businesses that were affected by the August flooding in Louisiana, and how women- and minority-owned businesses can play a role in recovery efforts.
The committee will meet periodically to:
- Share information on what each organization/entity is doing related to support services for women- and minority-owned businesses
- Identify unmet needs and gaps in services
- Facilitate coordination among groups working with women- and minority-owned businesses
- Identify key public- and private-sector partners, and enlist their participation
- Identify ways to promote women- and minority-owned businesses
- Work as a group to determine documentation of efforts and successes
- Develop an environment of cooperation and collaboration, so these efforts will be sustained
- Form subcommittees, as needed, to address identified issues.
The committee is made up of key entities and organizations that impact women- and minority-owned businesses in Louisiana. The initial members of the committee represent the following partners:
- Asian Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana
- National Association of Women Business Owners
- New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce
- Southeast Louisiana Women’s Business Center
- Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council
- Strategic Action Council
- Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training
- Women’s Business and Enterprise Council.