Economic Gardening
Noble Plastics, Grand Coteau
LED Incentives_Economic Gardening_Nobel-1920x540

Economic Gardening Initiative

Louisiana Economic Development's Economic Gardening Initiative provides Louisiana-based small businesses with the information they need to grow and succeed. Through accelerated technical assistance and research, an experienced economic gardening team will provide customized services tailored to your business needs, including:

  • Review of core strategies, including threats and opportunities, business strategy and niche markets.
  • Business development opportunities through market research and qualified sales leads.
  • Improved internet presence by increasing your company's visibility and credibility within the market, and advice on how to best use technology to connect with customers.


In order to qualify for the Economic Gardening Initiative, a business must meet the criteria described below.

  • Principal Place of Business – The company must have maintained its principal place of business in Louisiana for at least the last two years.
  • Annual Revenue – The company must have annual revenue between $600,000 and $50,000,000.
  • Employees – The company must employ at least five but not more than 100 employees.
  • Growth – The company must demonstrate growth in annual revenue and/or jobs in two of the last five years.
  • External Markets – The company must deliver products or services to customers outside the company's local market area or demonstrate the capacity to do so.
  • Target Industries – The company must be in a target industry such as manufacturing, finance and insurance services, administrative services and emerging industries, as identified by Louisiana Economic Development (retail stores and restaurants are specifically excluded).
  • Lawful Function – The company must be organized for profit to perform a lawful, commercially useful function.

Getting Started

To take advantage of LED's Economic Gardening Initiative and its accelerated technical assistance and research capabilities, complete the online application at

For more information on the Economic Gardening Initiative, contact:

Christopher Cassagne
Assistant Director, Small Business Services
[email protected]

Next Steps

  • LED reviews the online application.
  • Application status is emailed to the applicant within 72 hours.
  • Accepted companies receive an introductory email welcoming them to the program, along with instructions on how to access and navigate the online workspace.
  • An LED staff member contacts the applicant company to facilitate meeting dates and times for two conference calls between the CEO and the Team Leader of the National Strategic Research Team.
  • The initial conference calls begin the economic gardening engagement, which consists of up to 35 hours of professional research and consulting by the National Strategic Research Team.

Eligibility Scenarios

Q: My business is currently receiving LED incentives. Am I still eligible to participate in Economic Gardening?
A: Yes. Your participation in other LED incentives does not preclude you from receiving assistance through Economic Gardening.

Q: I just sold my business to an out-of-state company but continue to operate it from a Louisiana location. Can we receive economic gardening assistance? 
A: No. Subsidiary companies are considered to be a part of the parent company. Since the parent company is not Louisiana based, it would not be eligible for this program.

Q: My company is looking to expand its business throughout Louisiana but we do not have the capacity to grow beyond the state's borders at this time. Can economic gardening help me expand only within Louisiana? 
A: Every company is evaluated on a case-by-case basis; therefore, there is not a blanket answer that would apply. Economic gardening supports companies looking to expand outside of their traditional market area, preferably out of state, in an effort to increase and accelerate wealth creation throughout the state.


Q: What is Economic Gardening?
A: Economic Gardening is a market research program that provides virtual access to information tailored to your specific needs. In partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation, accepted companies are provided up to 36 hours of secondary market research focused on strategic growth issues. To find out more information, click here for a short video.

Q: What is a second-stage growth company? 
A: The definition of a second-stage growth company can vary somewhat, but it typically refers to a company that has grown past the startup stage but has not reached the point of maturity. It is also a company where the CEO is transitioning out of total control and into a more strategic role while professional managers are added to run key parts of the company. The firm still does not have the capacity to retain a full-scale professional management team. In Louisiana, a second-stage growth company is one with five or more employees, but not more than 100, and has annual revenues that exceed $600,000 but are less than $50,000,000.

Q: What is the cost to participate? 
A: There is no cost to participate in the Economic Gardening Initiative.

Q: What are the services offered through economic gardening? 
A: Through accelerated technical assistance and research, an experienced national economic gardening team will provide customized services tailored to meet individual business needs. Following an initial team call where the CEO outlines their current strategy and needs, the National Strategic Research Team begins to provide research reports, recommendations and data lists for the company to implement within its growth strategy. Research areas include market research/competitive intelligence, geographic information systems, core strategy review, and internet/social media/search engine optimization strategies.

Q: How long does the program engagement last? 
A: The entire engagement lasts between three and six weeks on average. The length of time is usually determined by factors such as complexity of the issues, availability of relevant research information, and CEO involvement and availability.

Q: How much time should I plan to dedicate to this engagement? 
A: Many of the CEOs we have interviewed after their engagement have told us that they spent between eight and twelve hours directly involved in the process.

Q: Are these services offered by other organizations? 
A: The type of support given to second-stage growth companies through economic gardening is unique in that it provides a Fortune 500-quality research team to help your business grow. The services are complementary to other support organizations and add value on top of services provided by chambers, small business development centers and regional economic development organizations.

Q: What is economic gardening and how can it help me as the CEO of a growing company? 
A: Economic gardening is an innovative, entrepreneur-centered approach to economic development. Technical assistance provided by a team of national experts can lead your company to new heights. Learn more about what economic gardening can do for the growth of your business.