PONCHATOULA--Elmer Chocolate of Ponchatoula has been recognized by Governor John Bel Edwards for being part of Louisiana's inaugural class of major employers mentoring emerging businesses.
Edwards recognized the inaugural class of companies participating in Louisiana’s Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program. Administered by Louisiana Economic Development, the program pairs established, high-performing employers with emerging small businesses in the state.
Mentors are selected from referrals made by regional economic development groups and other stakeholders, while protégés are selected from candidates certified in LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program. For a year, the mentors will assist their protégés with financial management, inventory control, access to capital, risk management, marketing and other skills.
“This program provides a unique opportunity for small firms to learn from the experience of seasoned mentors that have been successful in building and sustaining profitable Louisiana businesses,” Gov. Edwards said. “We’re deeply grateful for the contributions our mentors are making, and eager to see the growth our protégé firms will experience.”
LED directly supported more than 11,000 entrepreneurs, owners, managers and employees through its Small Business Services programs during 2018. The Mentor-Protégé program creates an additional growth opportunity for Louisiana’s small business community.
“Mentor companies can equip protégés with the critical tools needed to achieve continual growth,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “They are an example of great corporate citizenship and commitment to giving back to our community, beyond the already meaningful capital investment, employment and spending they contribute. We celebrate their willingness to support and grow Louisiana small businesses.”
Through the program, protégés receive valuable technical assistance and tools for building their capacity. That capacity will enable participants to avoid the pitfalls that often deter small business growth. Mentor participants gain an opportunity to deepen their relationships with potential suppliers and contractors, while committing to small business sustainability in Louisiana.
The following firms make up the inaugural class of the Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program, with the mentor listed first and the protégé second:
Jacobs | ILSI Engineering.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana | Creativity Justified.
Cheniere Energy | Wing 7 Advanced Trucking, Leasing & Logistics LLC.
The Folgers Coffee Company | ILSI Engineering.
Elmer Chocolate | Ed. Smith’s Stencil Works.
Sasol | Protégé to be determined.
Graphic Packaging International | Protégé to be determined.
After the companies work together for a year, they will have an option for renewing the partnership for up to two additional years. As part of the application process, protégé companies identify business practices in which they need assistance, and mentor companies offer to provide assistance in specific areas.
To apply for the program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/MentorProtege. For additional information, contact Tatiana Bruce of LED at [email protected] or 225.342.5663. For more about LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development Program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/SEBD.