Two Denham Springs businesses will take part in a new Louisiana Economic Development pilot program aimed at growing existing Louisiana companies.

Labarre Associates, a real estate services firm, and Teknarus, a software and IT firm, are among 32 companies statewide selected for the Louisiana Economic Gardening Initiative. The program connects home-grown small businesses with national experts in market research, growth strategies and other resources normally available only to large companies.

“Once this initiative proves successful, which we know it will, our goal is for many more of our companies to benefit from what economic gardening has to offer,” Randy Rogers, president of the Livingston Economic Development Council, said in a news release.

The council recommended the firms for the pilot program.

Economic gardening is based on the idea that entrepreneurs drive economies.

The services provided through the Economic Gardening Initiative, include:

A review of the company’s core strategies, including competitive threats and opportunities, business strategy, niche markets and management and employee temperament.

Market research and competitive intelligence, including qualified sales leads.

A digital mapping of their geographic areas to assist in targeted marketing efforts and analyzing the competitive environment.

Search Engine Optimization to increase the company’s visibility and credibility within the market.

An Internet and Social Media strategy to assist the company in best use of technology to connect with customers.

Referrals to connect them with top business leaders.