Lake Charles Announces New Business Innovation Center and Small Business Development Week
Small business owners in Southwest Louisiana are receiving more focus and support from local organizations. This week, the City of Lake Charles kicked off its Small Business Development Week, which includes a variety of learning opportunities and a competition for small business owners. Additionally, the Restore Louisiana Small Business Loan Program is now accepting applications, providing financial assistance to eligible small businesses and nonprofits affected by the 2020-2021 weather disasters.
The highlight of the week was the announcement of the new Lake Charles Business Innovation Center, set to open in 2024 in North Lake Charles. The center will provide a business incubator environment, co-working space, private offices, drop-in desk availability, conference rooms, and event space. The Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation (LCCF), in partnership with the Lake Charles Minority Business Chamber, has been working to promote business development in the area and will have offices in the new hub.
Kelisha Garrett, COO and VP of Government Affairs for LCCF, emphasized the center's importance in serving business owners who are working in North Lake Charles to start or grow their businesses. "This Center will offer accounting, marketing, legal, technical and other services to the owners of beginning and established businesses to strengthen and build business capacity," she said.
In addition to the new center, the LC Launch Small Business Development Week offers a variety of workshops and events for small business owners, covering topics such as legal advice, social media ROI, e-commerce tools, and YouTube growth. The Gator Tank competition, modeled after the popular TV show Shark Tank, gives participants a chance to pitch their business ideas and win $2,500.
The Restore Louisiana Small Business Loan Program provides assistance for non-construction expenses to eligible small businesses and nonprofits affected by the 2020-2021 weather disasters. The program is federally funded and aims to provide financial relief to businesses impacted by events such as hurricanes, flooding, and severe weather. Governor John Bel Edwards announced earlier this month that the program is now accepting applications.
The combination of these initiatives reflects a commitment from local organizations to support small businesses in Southwest Louisiana. Mayor Nic Hunter highlighted the importance of partnerships in achieving these goals, saying, "Incredible things can happen through solid partnerships."
Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy, and initiatives like these help ensure that they receive the support they need to thrive and contribute to their communities.