BATON ROUGE, La. — Leveraging the success of its CEO Roundtables for fast-growing firms, Louisiana Economic Development has launched Small and Emerging Business Development Roundtables in eight cities throughout the state. Each roundtable brings together 10 to 15 owners of small and emerging businesses for a yearlong dialogue. They share challenges and learn from the experiences of their peers. They meet 10 times to provide business owners with the opportunity to get just-in-time answers to pressing issues within a safe environment in which sensitive business challenges are processed with peers.
Sessions for the innovative peer-to-peer learning program began this summer in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport. Participants are selected from Louisiana companies that have been certified by LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program. The SEBD Program provides managerial and technical assistance that helps sustain and grow small businesses.
"This is a great example of a collaborative effort to nurture Louisiana’s small business community,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Through the SEBD Roundtables, participants learn that they are not alone and can help one another by sharing experiences and solutions. Peer-to-peer views can be very helpful in improving their businesses. It is vital that we provide support for these businesses so that they can provide sustainable growth and employment well into the future."
The roundtable experience is designed to help small business owners reach better decisions and action plans, affirm what they’re doing right, and identify what they need to improve. Participants also develop trusted relationships to share both business and personal issues. As the roundtables unveil challenges that the companies may be facing, the SEBD Program addresses those needs through managerial and technical assistance that allows small business owners to access continued support to help enhance their business knowledge and capacity.
The peer-to-peer learning program uses the national best-practice PeerSpectives™ Roundtable System developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation. Earlier this year, LED hosted the national best-practice PeerSpectives training with support of the foundation. The event certified service-providers representing eight regions of the state in PeerSpectives protocols. Certification ensures that peer-to-peer roundtables deliver a consistent experience in the small business community. LED is now licensed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to use the PeerSpectives Roundtable System for SEBD Roundtables.
In collaboration with SEBD Intermediaries, a network of LED’s regional small business partners, the SEBD Roundtables are offered in multiple locations throughout Louisiana including:
- Business and Community Development Center — Southern University, Shreveport.
- City of Alexandria and Ministers of Economic Development, Alexandria.
- Good Work Network, New Orleans.
- Louisiana Technology Park, Baton Rouge.
- Microbusiness Enterprise Corporation of Ascension, Gonzales.
- Small Business Development and Management Institute — Southern University, New Orleans.
- Small Business Development Center — Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond.
- Southwest Louisiana Partnership for Economic Development, Lake Charles.
- TruFund, Baton Rouge.
- Small Business Development Center — University of Louisiana Lafayette, Lafayette.
Any SEBD Intermediary can be contacted about enrollment for the next SEBD Roundtables sessions, beginning in the summer of 2018. For more information on the application process contact Stephanie Hartman, LED Small Business Services manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225.342.5677; or contact Tatiana Bruce, lead Business Development officer, at email@example.com or 225.342.5663.