“The Louisiana program has been identified as one of the best of its type in the nation. Louisiana is a poster child for a successful Economic Gardening program.”Paul Bateson, General Manager at the Edward Lowe Foundation
The Economic Gardening Initiative provides small businesses with technical assistance and research services that include a review of core strategies, identification of development opportunities, establishing an improved internet presence; and sound advice on how to use technology to connect with customers.
St. Landry Economic Development is using a long-established practice of monthly meetings with parish employers to identify companies that are a good fit for the economic gardening program, according to Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director. “One of the objectives of these meetings is to find ways to help our businesses overcome obstacles and meet new challenges,” he said.
He notes that economic gardening recognizes that each company has goals and resources that are unique and that there is “no blanket answer on how each can best reach their potential.”
“Economic gardening represents a new way of thinking about supporting growth companies and letting business owners know how important they are to our local economies. So instead of offering traditional incentives like tax credits or real estate discounts, we’re offering something that might be even more valuable to you: information — strategic information,” according to Louisiana Economic Development.
There is no cost for the program. To be eligible, participants must:
- Be a for-profit, privately-held company that has been headquartered in the state for at least the past two years.
- Generate annual revenue or working capital of between $600,000 and $50 million.
- Employ between 5 and 99 full-time employees.
- Demonstrate growth in employment and/or revenue during two of the past five years.
- Provide products or services beyond the local area to regional, national or global markets.
- Be referred by a participating economic development or entrepreneur support organization.
The Louisiana program has been identified as one of the best of its type in the nation
“Louisiana is a poster child for a successful Economic Gardening program,” according to Paul Bateson, general manager of economic gardening at the Edward Lowe Foundation.
St. Landry Economic Development is “committed to finding every tool and every resource available to the existing businesses that are the backbone of our economy,” Rodier said. “One of goals, of course, is to bring new business into the parish to create new jobs and stimulate our economy, but it is essential that we help businesses that are already here to grow and be profitable.
“They are the base upon which everything else will be built,” he said.
About The Author
As a Quasi-governmental entity to promote economic development, the St. Landry Parish Economic Development’s (SLED) primary mission is to provide leadership in economic and community development that facilitates growth opportunities leading to enhanced prosperity for St. Landry Parish businesses, communities, its clients and youth.