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Baton Rouge Business Owners Saw Huge Growth after Year One of Roundtables Program


A Lot for a Little

When leading the life of an entrepreneur, there are few things that provide huge benefits for a small amount of effort. In fact, it’s almost always the opposite — entrepreneurs are used to grinding day-in and day-out for the tiniest returns, especially early on. Fortunately, a few select  business owners and entrepreneurs in Baton Rouge got to taste something a little sweeter this year when they participated in SEBD Roundtables at the Louisiana Technology Park. For their time commitment of just a few hours per month, our data showed they saw huge returns for the growth and development of their businesses, and for themselves.

In June of 2018, the first cohort of the Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Roundtables program, which provides a platform for small business owners to meet ten times over the course of a year and engage in peer-to-peer learning, networking, and support,  concluded at the Louisiana Technology Park. The program, held through a collaboration between the Tech Park and  Louisiana  Economic Development (LED), was initiated to help local  business owners collaborate with one another and work through various problems, with the ultimate goal of growing their businesses, and themselves.

This first cohort was a runaway success, not only because of the connections that were made and the learning that was facilitated, but because of the tangible growth the businesses involved were able to realize  aided by their  experience in the program.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Here are some of the detailed highlights* from the program’s first year:

  • Eleven graduating companies anticipated creating an additional 31 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the next 12 months 
  • Graduating companies also anticipated collectively increasing annual gross revenue by $7.76 Million over the next 12 months 
  • Average wage of a typical new hire = $44,200

These figures reflect the ultimate goal of the SEBD Roundtables Program, which is to assist the participants in the growth and sustainability of their companies. Of course, each business owner  that goes through the program experiences personal growth as well, as they convene with their peers through discussion of shared experiences, but they ultimately spend the time in this program because it works — the SEBD Roundtables Program produces tangible growth in the businesses of those who participate.

Identifying a Need

LED Small Business Services oversaw the creation of this local cohort and identified the unique need for a program like this in Baton Rouge. Their understanding of and empathy for the owners of these businesses is what led to the creation of this iteration of the program.

“The SEBD Program offers a collaborative learning experience to encourage a group of new, talented and emerging entrepreneurs to build stronger, healthier small businesses throughout Louisiana, “ LED Secretary Don Pierson said.  “The Roundtables program introduces our developing business leaders to a fresh pair of eyes when it comes to different challenges and issues that arise when running a company.  We strive to maintain a thriving small business community in Louisiana, and what better way to execute that than to give small businesses these proven tools and peer-to-peer knowledge to grow and sustain themselves.”

Looking Ahead

Working again with LED, the Tech Park will be hosting another 10-month program for 15-18 small business owners in and around the capital region. The program will commence this August, and applications are being accepted now. Applicants should be willing to devote3 hours once a month, be open to honest feedback, and have a desire to grow their business.

All those who are interested in applying are encouraged to do so by visiting https://peerspectives2018.eventbrite.com. Submissions for the 2018-2019 cohort will be accepted through Tuesday, July 31st.


* Data  compiled from final survey responses of participating companies

Graduates from the first cohort pose together on the last day of the program.

Graduates from the first cohort pose together on the last day of the program.




Connor Tarter