BATON ROUGE, La. — Sixteen Louisiana-based, growth-oriented companies are the third group of participants in the American Academy of Entrepreneurs, a program designed to accelerate business growth and develop relationships among second-stage companies. The initiative is made possible through a collaboration by Louisiana Economic Development and the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation.
The 2022 program began July 19-21 with intensive, retreat-style programming for participants at the foundation’s headquarters in Cassopolis, Michigan. Participating companies were paired as mentors and mentees, depending on their current phase of growth and other factors, to generate the most value from the relationships. The paired companies will now engage in six monthly one-on-one meetings to collaborate and focus on obstacles related to growth.
“From my past experience as a small business owner, I know the importance of giving entrepreneurs the support they deserve,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “The businesses participating are innovative and resilient, and I applaud them for their willingness to gain and share knowledge as well as their experiences. This will definitely help owners make better decisions. By working together through this program, positive impacts are created and relationships developed that add jobs and accelerate business growth.”
Second-stage businesses typically have 10 to 99 employees and sell to external markets. Common issues for these businesses can include building out a team, growing to last and focusing on new targeted opportunities. The LED Growth Network provides a suite of services to Louisiana’s second-stage businesses, with mentorship opportunities being one focus area.
“This spring I traveled to Louisiana to present LED with our very first Founders Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations who champion the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dan Wyant, chairman and president of the Edward Lowe Foundation. “When it comes to support for second-stage companies, LED continues to be a national leader. Now we’re excited to welcome the third cohort of Louisiana business owners to Big Rock Valley, our 2,000-acre learning campus in southwest Michigan, where they will begin the American Academy of Entrepreneurs program.”
The following businesses are participating in the 2022 AAE mentorship program:
- Bespoke Experiences of New Orleans, a tour operator that designs and delivers custom luxury private experiences in the U.S. and Canada, founded in 2013.
- Enginuity Global LLC of Baton Rouge, a company offering process automation and controls, electrical engineering and field services, founded in 2018.
- Finding Solace of West Monroe, a private counseling agency with diverse services for individuals and businesses, founded in 2014.
- Fire & Safety Specialists Inc. of Lafayette, an international provider and installer of fire and gas detection and suppression systems, founded in 2002.
- Geaux Above LLC of Madisonville, a company offering fitness equipment and playground solutions, founded in 2018.
- Global Management Enterprise LLC of Lake Charles, a staffing and general contractor company for industrial, commercial and residential projects, founded in 2008.
- In Loving Arms HealthCare for Kids of Baton Rouge, a physician prescribed multi-disciplinary day care for medically fragile and/or technology dependent children and young adults, newborn to age 21, founded in 2012.
- Leaaf Environmental LLC of Gretna, an environmental consulting, engineering and remediation firm, founded in 2005.
- M S Benbow & Associates of Metairie, a professional engineering corporation specializing in the energy and technology industries, founded in 1978.
- NANO of New Orleans, a firm providing architecture and interior design services for new construction, renovations and historic preservation within many sectors, founded in 2001.
- Noble Plastics of Grand Coteau, a plastics manufacturing, product design and robotics integration firm, founded in 2000.
- Nuworx LLC of New Orleans, a business specializing in exterior renovation to existing commercial buildings, founded in 2008.
- Post Trauma Institute of Baton Rouge, a clinical and corporate psychiatric services and outpatient substance abuse treatment center, founded in 2012.
- Ratcliff Development LLC of Alexandria, a regional real estate development and investment firm, founded in 2008.
- Stratify LLC of Houma, a business consulting organization that helps owners and managers increase productivity, efficiency and profitability, founded in 2019.
- Synergy Design Group of New Orleans, a nationwide design provider for tradeshows, branded environments and signage, founded in 2000.
For more information on the American Academy of Entrepreneurs program or how to become an LED Growth Network company, contact Christopher Cassagne, assistant director of Small Business Services, at 225.342.5882 or email Christopher.Cassagne@la.gov.
About The Edward Lowe Foundation
The Edward Lowe Foundation was established in 1985 by Ed and Darlene Lowe to leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development. The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives focus on second-stage companies, which are growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but have not yet reached maturity. Its peer learning, leadership education, and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing. For more information, visit EdwardLowe.org.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, rated the No. 1 customized workforce training program in the U.S. 13 years in a row. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.