09/30/15 Diversity at BEC

The Business Education Complex on Wednesday September 30, 2015 at LSU campus.

The University is now a host institution for a location of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, or LSBDC in the Business Education Complex.

All branches of the LSBDC offer free assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Louisiana. At the University’s SBDC office, business students will work alongside LSBDC consultants to serve their clients. The students will use what they learn in class, as well as their training on SBDC protocol, to assist the LSBDC consultants in their work.

“Not only are we going to help small businesses in the region, but at the same time it’s going to give an opportunity for our students to get experience counseling small businesses,” White said. “It’s a win-win situation for small businesses, for the students and for LSU.”

The National Small Business Development Center program began in 1980 and was authorized by the Small Business Act. Louisiana created six Small Business Development Centers in 1991, all associated with Louisiana colleges and universities.

One SBDC was in the Louisiana Business and Technology Center, a branch of the University’s Office of Research and Economic Development. This SBDC was discontinued several years ago.

The University’s new SBDC is a result of a partnership between Richard D. White Jr., who serves as the dean of the E.J. Ourso College of Business, and Rande Kessler, who is the state director of the LSBDC.

LSBDC consultants will also be able to call upon the University’s faculty for assistance.

“In many cases, with LSBDC consultant oversight, students in an advanced business course may work with their professor on a project for a real client,” said Edward Watson, a Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute professor. “This is a form of experiential learning that is invaluable to the students, the client, and the consultant.”

By providing free assistance to local entrepreneurs and small businesses, the LSBDC at LSU is another way for the E.J. Ourso College of Business to serve the Baton Rouge community.

The College of Business plays a large role in Louisiana’s economic development. The University’s $5.1 billion impact on Louisiana is due in part to the College of Business’ commitment to local entrepreneurs, according to the Louisiana Economic Development Forecast published by the College of Business.

“LSU has a big role in the community,” White said. “The community looks for us to leadership in a variety of areas and entrepreneurship is one of those. I feel the business college has a much greater responsibility than just to our students and to research. We have a huge responsibility to the community and to the local economy.”

Aside from the LSBDC at LSU, the College of Business also serves entrepreneurs through a joint degree in entrepreneurship, which can be coupled with any other degree. The Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, a program within the College of Business, is solely dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurial practices.

“We engage in programs, activities and partnerships that allow us to leverage our strengths and find opportunities to support and foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem,”

Watson said. “Students from every college at LSU have an opportunity to study entrepreneurship and develop their entrepreneurial skillset “and experiences.”

The LSBDC officially opened on Nov. 2 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Its offices are now open in the BEC, according to an LSU Media Center press release.

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