A new website, Louisiana Business Connection, is designed to give small businesses in Louisiana that have been overlooked in the past the opportunity to participate in billion-dollar projects planned for the next decade.
The site is “a new and valuable resource” for business owners, according to Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director. He pointed out that the program was unveiled first in southwest Louisiana because of the huge potential here.
In recent years chemical, petrochemical, and energy companies have announced plans for more than $100 million in new plants and expansions, much of it in southwest Louisiana. About $65 billion of this work is either in the design stage, under construction, or nearing completion.
“These are real projects that represent great opportunities for services of all kinds for St. Landry businesses,” Rodier noted. “Louisiana Business Connection will help St. Landry Parish entrepreneurs become aware of new opportunities and project managers to become aware of the capabilities of our businesses. One of the key goals is to give Louisiana businesses a better chance to get work that has too often gone to out-of-state contractors in the past.”
Louisiana Economic Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, and regional development partners such as St. Landry Economic Development designed the pilot program and picked southwest Louisiana to launch it because of the billions being invested here.
The free service offers small businesses a shortcut through the sometimes-bewildering procurement processes and red tape associated with landing work on big projects, Rodier said.
“Louisiana Business Connection provides our large industrial projects with an accessible tool for further investing in our communities and for contracting with Louisiana’s small businesses.” Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said the program was inspired by what he calls “a historic opportunity” for the state’s small businesses.
“We’re talking about more than $165 billion in newly announced industrial projects in our state this decade. . . . We looked at the industrial renaissance underway in Louisiana, and we knew we could not let this opportunity pass,” he said.
Rodier joined with Pierson in urging small businesses to register with the program. Creating an on-line account is easy and free. Small businesses are asked to create a profile showcasing capabilities, insurance coverage, safety ratings, certifications and additional information needed to be matched with prime contractors. Contractors are asked to create a profile describing the specific requirements of projects for which Louisiana small businesses may qualify.
Rodier said tools offered through St. Landry Economic Development can help create the needed business profile, and that “while a modest amount of effort is required, it can pay big dividends for St. Landry businesses.”
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.