'Economic Gardening' participants sought

Louisiana's Economic Gardening Initiative is seeking participants for a program aimed at helping "second-stage" firms gain new markets in other states to generate new sales, and import greater value and income to Louisiana communities.

Eligible Louisiana businesses are growing companies of $600,000 to $50 million in annual revenue, with staffs of five to 100 employees.

The initiative is funded by the state's economic development department. Louisiana Economic Development connects Economic Gardening participants with a four-person team of researchers skilled in specialized tools, including geographic information systems and digital marketing. The business intelligence gathered helps business owners address specific growth opportunities. Initial consultations consist of up to 36 hours of market research in strategic areas, with the option for two more rounds if criteria are met.

Department staff and partners help companies focus on two or three business challenges, providing assistance for companies to turn the research into an action plan.

Since the program started seven years ago, 213 companies from all eight regions of Louisiana have combined to create 1,367 new full-time-equivalent jobs, while increasing annual sales by more than $215 million. The Louisiana initiative has been recognized as a best practice by the Edward Lowe Foundation, which administers the program nationwide and hosts the National Center for Economic Gardening.

Information and applications are at opportunitylouisiana.com/economic-gardening

Procurement contract conference set

A free "Connecting Businesses with Contracts" procurement conference is being held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 27 at Southern University’s Felton G. Clark Activity Center in Baton Rogue.

The conference provides a venue for potential and existing small-business owners, contractors, nonprofits, small towns and municipalities to learn about the resources that are available through federal, state and local government agencies, and major prime companies.

The conference is co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration; Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University; Louisiana Economic Development; and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Preregistration is required by March 20 at eventbrite.com or by faxing a paper registration form to (504) 589-2339. On-site registration also will be available. Small businesses can serve as exhibitors by submitting an exhibitor registration form by March 19 to jo.lawrence3@sba.gov or fax to (504) 589-2339.

La. entertainment summit scheduled 

Louisiana Economic Development will host an inaugural Louisiana Entertainment Summit from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 27 at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, 777 L'Auberge Ave., Baton Rouge, to outline opportunities provided by the department's entertainment programs.

Louisiana offers a package of incentives designed for motion pictures, digital interactive and software development projects, sound recording and live performance productions. The event will focus on recent enhancements to the incentive programs that were approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2017.

Louisiana Entertainment managers will present information on film, digital, music and live performance opportunities in the state. A panel discussion by representatives of Louisiana companies active in those fields will be held.

“The Academy Award nominations, Sundance Film Festival honors and Grammy awards bestowed last month on Louisiana artists remind us that our creative assets have great value for our state,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “The recent improvements to our entertainment programs will further strengthen this industry in Louisiana, encouraging decision-makers in the film and music industries to produce here and to invest more permanently in our state and its people.”

Registration is at thetjcgroup.com/led.

Military family, vets workshop planned

A "Boots to Business Reboot" workshop for veterans and military families will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 6 at the Urban League of Louisiana, 4640 S. Carrollton Ave., Suite 110, New Orleans.

The workshop is being presented by the Louisiana District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Veterans Business Outreach Center; Louisiana Small Business Development Center; and the Women Business & Resource Center.

Over the next few years, more than 250,000 service members will transition into civilian life annually. The program introduces entrepreneurship as a post-service vocation and provides service members and their spouses training in the fundamentals of small-business ownership.

The two-step program includes an introduction to entrepreneurship, which provides participants a basic understanding of business fundamentals and includes a feasibility analysis practical exercise, and an instructor-led, eight-week online course that provides participants the knowledge needed to create a business plan.

Registration is sbavets.force.com/s/. Information on SBA programs and services are at www.sba.gov.

Southern schedules small farm event

The eighth annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference will be held at 10 a.m. March 15 through March 17 at Southern University’s Felton G. Clark Activity Center in Baton Rouge. 

The conference theme is “Transforming and Elevating Louisiana Small Family Farms.”

It is designed to expand the awareness of educational opportunities, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and services and other resources to help small farmers stay in business.

The event is targeted to new and beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, community-based organizations, urban agriculturalists, government agencies and those interested in learning about agriculture.

The conference will kick off with a grant-writing session. Topics also include managing feral hogs; composting large animals; social media marketing; biodiversity on farms; breeds for changing climates; and programs for veterans.

Other events include the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet, honoring people who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences. A ribbon-cutting will be held for Southern's Mobile Education and Technology Center.

The conference also will feature an exhibit hall for vendors from various companies and organizations sharing information about their products and services.

Limited complimentary registration is available by March 2, then the fee is $75 for agricultural professionals and $50 for small farmers. On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. daily during the conference.

To register or reserve an exhibitor space, go to suagcenter.com/smallfarmerconference or contact Kelli Hollins at (225) 771-5782 or kelli_hollins@suagcenter.com.

Cattle producers field day planned 

The Acadiana beef cattle producers field day will be held at 8 a.m. March 3 at the LSU AgCenter Iberia Research Station, 603 LSU Bridge Road, Jeanerette.

Topics include effects of cover crops on soil health; the beef export market and its effects on beef pricing and policy; parasite resistance to de-wormers; controlling ryegrass in Bermuda grass hay meadows; care of newborn calves; evaluating low- and high-input cow-calf management systems; improving the use of nitrogen fertilizer; and a Louisiana Master Farmer Program update. A graduation ceremony for the Master Cattleman Program will be held.

Denham High gets financial literacy center

A Neighbors Financial Literacy Center has opened at Denham Springs High School.

The facility is part of the Neighbors Federal Credit Union's mascot program, which provides financial courses and specialized checking accounts, and gives money back to the school for each debit card swipe to participating schools in the greater Baton Rouge area.

The facility is equipped with an iPad, iPhone, two computers and a touchscreen monitor to allow students to access Neighbors Financial Literacy content and online banking.

Women's services added to Ochsner clinic

Ochsner Health Center – Mid-City at Canal, with women’s services, is co-occupying space with  Ochsner Urgent Care clinic on Canal at South Carrollton.

Dermatology services will be added to the specialty health center in March.

The Mid-City facility will offer various OB-GYN services, including urinary tract infection care, sexually transmitted disease testing and annual exams. Expectant mothers can receive care for pregnancy symptoms, including nausea, vaginal spotting and contractions.

The center also provides primary care services, including lab services, immunizations and electrocardiogram testing. Appointments are made at (504) 842-7400.