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Louisiana Department of Economic Development

Crafting Louisiana's Business Counseling Network

Challenge
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) identified the need to provide services including assistance in applying for small business administration disaster loans, business planning, marketing analysis, financial analysis and general business counseling to small businesses in hurricane-impacted areas in Louisiana.


Approach
SSA developed the case management model to respond to these small business needs and worked with LED to design a robust assistance program, identify grant recipients, coordinate the scheduling and assignment of counseling resources to end users, and recruit the member economic development agencies into the Business Counseling Center (BCC) network. Once in place, the BCC network served as an impactful and successful program capable of providing free intensive counseling and education services to small businesses in hurricane-impacted areas.


Impact
Through the collaborative effort of the member agencies, the BCCs became a “one-stop-shop” for small business owners in Louisiana. In total, the BCC network provided technical assistance and workshops to more than 5,000 businesses, and procurement and contracting workshops held in nine communities attracted more than 850 attendees. Seven additional “Gulf Opportunity Zone” workshops drew more than 470 participants and nearly 900 businesses received counseling services. The SSA-designed BCC network and its framework exist today within LED, and its function remains in place as an economic tool for statewide hurricane and disaster response initiatives.

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