Small Buz Development

Pictured from left are Lena McArthur, Executive Director of West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce; Donna Little, Director of Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University; Nic Sheppard, Board President of West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce; and Heather Hohensee, Government & Public Affairs Manager for Tellurian.

A new program to help launch and support small businesses in West Calcasieu was announced last Thursday.

The West Cal Small Business Development Program is a partnership among the West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana’s Small Business Development Center at McNeese, LSBDC, and Tellurian.

The program will include free one-on-one business consulting sessions at the chamber offices in Sulphur with experts from the LSBDC and ongoing business and professional development workshops. Funding for the program is being provided through a $5,000 grant from Tellurian, which was presented at the September meeting of the WCCC Thursday. Tellurian is the Houston-based company with plans on building Driftwood LNG facility in West Calcasieu.

The LSBDC consulting sessions at the chamber offices will be available free of charge to both chamber members and non-members every third Wednesday of the month starting on October 16, 2019.  They will be held in the Chamber offices at 500 A North Huntington Street, Sulphur. Sessions are by appointment only and may be made by calling the LSBDC at 337-475-5529 or emailing lsbdc.msu@lsbdc.org.  

According to Executive Director Lena McArthur, a recent satisfaction survey showed members were pleased with the professional networking opportunities offered by the Chamber, but asked for more initiatives that could help businesses grow. “We want to launch a new economic development program that can have a direct positive impact on small local businesses,” she said.

The LSBDC, which has been assisting business in Southwest Louisiana for the past 35 years, currently operates out of the SEED center at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. It offers high-quality technical assistance to existing and start-up small businesses at no cost to the client. LSBDC business consultants are trained in diverse industries and can offer assistance with business plans, growth strategies, market research, financing options, and sales & marketing strategies.

WCCC and Tellurian requested that those services be expanded to West Calcasieu.

“By offering our offices as a location for the LSBDC to hold monthly business consulting sessions in Sulphur, West Cal area business owners can benefit from the quality services, closer to home,” said McArthur.

“We are excited by this opportunity to offer our consulting services in a Sulphur location so that we can meet more of our clients where they are,” said Donna Little, Director of LSBDC at McNeese State University, “Small business owners are very busy and this partnership with the West Cal Chamber and Tellurian will make it much more convenient for entrepreneurs to take advantage of our assistance.”

There is a wealth of current and proposed industrial construction projects in the area, which provide small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to capitalize on economic expansion.

Research has found that for every industrial manufacturing job created, multiple additional jobs in the surrounding communities are needed to help provide goods and services to companies, their employees, and their employees’ families.

In a news release, Jason French, Vice-President Government and Public Affairs for Tellurian, said, “Tellurian is poised to bring significant economic benefits to Southwest Louisiana with our proposed Driftwood LNG project, and we are committed to helping local businesses benefit from this impact. By supporting the West Cal Small Business Development Program we believe we are helping to do that from the start.”

For more information about the West Cal Small Business Development program, upcoming business and professional workshops and chamber membership visit www.westcal.org or call WCCC at 337-313-1121.