BATON ROUGE, La. – Ten small businesses from across the state have been selected to participate in the second annual Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative, an LED program that helps local companies overcome challenges unique to rural communities.
Program participants are considered second-stage businesses, which typically have 10 to 99 employees and are poised for further growth, often spurred by expansion to out-of-state markets. The initiative, conducted in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation, is designed to address issues that are common to all small businesses but often magnified in rural areas, such as targeting new opportunities, sustaining growth, expanding a team and marketing digitally.
“Rural businesses play a key role in Louisiana’s ongoing economic growth and diversification,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our commitment to rural revitalization remains a strategic priority, and our partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation is one of the many ways we leverage available resources. Today, the state can spur rural economic growth by providing rural entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art tools and more of the critical resources they need to be successful.”
The businesses selected to participate in the 2022 Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative are:
● Allen’s Electric Motor Service of Vivian
● Bayou Teche Brewing of Arnaudville
● The Original Zwolle Tamales of Zwolle
● Enviro Services Rental of Farmerville
● Geaux Above, LLC of Madisonville
● Henry’s Travel Plaza of Iowa
● JCM Greenhouse Manufacturing of Forest Hill
● R&H Quality Refractory Services of Westlake
● St. Charles Printing of Boutte
● Tarpan Construction, LLC of Cottonport
The program includes an opening retreat (held May 17-19), and three professionally facilitated virtual roundtables each month. Participants also have the opportunity to work with LED’s System for Integrated Growth, which provides one-on-one access to expert specialists who generate customized information aligned with specific company needs. The initiative closes with a final meeting featuring presentations from participants about business goals and plans.
“I am encouraged by the growing awareness of a great mutual benefit shared by small business and our rural communities,” said Patrick Witty, Director of the LED Small Business and Community Services division. “This initiative addresses common challenges that its participants face, and their collaboration is uncovering new ways to meet those challenges.”
Upon completion of the program, participating companies join the LED Growth Network, a statewide alumni group that consists of more than 550 companies generating nearly $4 billion in annual sales and employing more than 20,000 full-time equivalent employees.
LED and the Edward Lowe Foundation hope to expand the initiative to more companies and communities in future years. For more information on the LED Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative program, contact Christopher Cassagne, assistant director of Small Business Services, at 225.342.5882 or email [email protected].
About The Edward Lowe Foundation
The Edward Lowe Foundation was established in 1985 by Ed and Darlene Lowe to leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development. The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives focus on second-stage companies, which are growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but have not yet reached maturity. Its peer learning, leadership education, and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing. For more information, visit EdwardLowe.org.