BATON ROUGE, La (press release) — Gov. John Bel Edwards recognized the companies participating in Louisiana’s mentor-protégé recognition program, which matches up-and-coming small businesses with established, high-performing employers in the state, in a ceremony Thursday at the state capitol.
Launched in 2018, the program provides Protégé companies with valuable technical support and tools to build capacity and avoid common pitfalls that hinder small business growth. Mentor attendees deepen their relationships with potential suppliers and contractors while also engaging in small business sustainability in Louisiana.
“When established, successful mentor companies reach out and help nurture our thriving small businesses, they make a priceless gift to our charges and our state,” said Governor Edwards. “We could not be successful in Louisiana without the willingness of our key employers and economic engine companies to partner with and support our small businesses in Louisiana, like the mentor companies recognized today.”
LED has more than 6,700 companies certified in its Small and Emerging Business Development Program and over 2,200 companies certified in the Hudson Initiative. The Mentor Protégé program creates an additional growth opportunity for small businesses in Louisiana.
“By creating this mentor-protégé connection, we are increasing the capacity for our key economic powertrain companies to further diversify their supply chain and connect with promising new small businesses in Louisiana,” said LED Secretary Don Pierson. “At the same time, we are increasing the capacity for our protégé companies to develop bandwidth in their services and capabilities. It’s a win-win situation that creates more economic opportunities for our companies large and small and their employees.”
Mentors are selected based on recommendations from regional economic development groups and other stakeholders; Protégés are selected from candidates who are certified in LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program or the Hudson Initiative. Over the course of a year, mentors support their mentees with key business development skills in the areas of financial management, inventory control, access to capital, risk management and marketing.
The following companies make up the Class 2022 Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program, with the mentor listed first and the protege second:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana | The pressure source
- Cheniere Energy | Rental service for technicians
- Cheniere Energy | Wright Management Solutions
- Cleco Corporate Investments | Urban resource management
- Jacob’s | Sustainable design solutions
Six other companies have been recognized for their participation as future mentors and will be selecting mentees in the near future:
- focus energy
- Elmer chocolate
- NATCO Food Service
- New Orleans Pelicans/New Orleans Saints
The participating companies commit to a cooperation of six to twelve months with the option to extend the partnership by up to two additional years. As part of the application process, Protégé companies identify their business development challenges to assist mentor companies in selecting partners who can best leverage their unique experience and expertise.
To apply to the program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/MentorProtege. For more information, contact Tatiana Bruce of LED at [email protected] or 225.342.5663. For more information on LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/SEBD.