BATON ROUGE, La. – Gov. John Bel Edwards recognized the companies participating in Louisiana’s Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program, which pairs emerging small businesses with established, high-performing employers in the state, in a ceremony Thursday at the State Capitol.
The program, established in 2018, provides protégé companies with valuable technical assistance and tools for building capacity and avoiding common pitfalls that deter small business growth. Mentor participants deepen their relationships with potential suppliers and contractors, while committing to small business sustainability in Louisiana.
“When established, successful mentor companies reach out and help elevate our emerging small businesses, they are giving an invaluable gift to our protégés and to our state,” Gov. Edwards said. “We could not succeed in Louisiana without the willingness of our major employers and economic driver companies to partner with and support our Louisiana small businesses like the mentor companies being recognized today.”
LED has more than 6,700 businesses certified in its Small and Emerging Business Development Program and over 2,200 businesses certified in the Hudson Initiative. The Mentor-Protégé program creates an additional growth opportunity for Louisiana’s small business community.
“By creating this mentor-protégé connection, we increase the capacity for our major economic driver companies to further diversify their supply chain and to connect with promising, new small businesses in Louisiana,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “At the same time, we increase the capacity for our protégé companies to develop bandwidth in their services and capabilities. It’s a win-win, creating more economic opportunity for our businesses, big and small, and their employees.
Mentors are selected from referrals by regional economic development groups and other stakeholders; protégés are selected by candidates certified in LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program or Hudson Initiative. Over the course of a year, mentors assist their protégés with key business development skills in the areas of financial management, inventory control, access to capital, risk management and marketing.
The following firms make up the 2022 class of the Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program, with the mentor listed first and the protégé second:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana | The Printing Source
- Cheniere Energy | Technician Rental Service
- Cheniere Energy | Wright Management Solutions
- Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC | Urban Resource Management
- Jacobs | Sustainable Design Solutions
Six other companies were recognized for committing to participate as future mentors and will be selecting protégés in the near future:
- Center Point Energy
- Elmer Chocolate
- NATCO Food Service
- New Orleans Pelicans/New Orleans Saints
Participating companies commit to work together for six to twelve months, with an option to renew the partnership for up to two additional years. As part of the application process, protégé companies identify their business development challenges to assist mentor companies in selecting partners that can best leverage their particular experience and expertise.
To apply for the program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/MentorProtege. For additional information, contact Tatiana Bruce of LED at [email protected] or 225.342.5663. For more about LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/SEBD.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, rated the No. 1 customized workforce training program in the U.S. 13 years in a row. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.