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Louisiana Economic Development office Selects Two Area Businesses to Participate in Support Program

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Two Southwest Louisiana businesses have been chosen to participate in the Louisiana Economic Development’s (LED) second annual 2022 Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Henry’s Travel Plaza in Iowa/Lacassine and R&H Quality Refractory Services in Westlake are two of 10 businesses selected.

"Rural businesses play a key role in Louisiana’s ongoing economic growth and diversification,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our commitment to rural revitalization remains a priority, and our partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation is one of the many ways we leverage available resources. Today, the state can spur rural economic growth by providing rural entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art tools and more of the critical resources they need to be successful.”

Other businesses chosen for the 2022 program include:

  • Allen’s Electric Motor service of Vivian
  • Bayou Teche Brewing of Arnaudville
  • The Original Zwolle Tamales of Zowelle
  • Enviro Services Rental of Farmerville
  • Geaux Above, LLC of Madisonville.
  • JCM Greenhouse Manufacturing of Forest Hill
  • St. Charles Printing of Boutte
  • Tarpan Construction, LLC of Cottonport.    

According to LED officials, the program started with a retreat in May. Additionally, virtual roundtables involving the participants will take place each month.

The businesses will also get the chance to work with LED’s System for Integrated Growth. According to state officials, the program “provides one-on-one access to expert specialists who generate customized information aligned with specific company needs.

When participants conclude the state’s program, they will have to make presentations related to business goals and plans.

“I am encouraged by the growing awareness of a great mutual benefit shared by small businesses and our rural communities,” said Patrick Witty, Director of the LED Small Business Co0mmunity Services division. “This initiative address common challenges that its participants face, and their collaboration is uncovering new ways to meet those challenges.”    

2022 program participants will graduate into the LED Growth Network, which is a statewide group comprised of 550 companies that generate $4 billion in annual sales while employing 2,000 full-time workers.

Henry’s is located at 14390 Hwy. 101. The convenience store features gas, diesel, clean bathrooms, meats, hot food, and a Dairy Barn.

R&H is located at 109 Walcot Rd. in Westlake. The company provides mechanical services, CAD & drafting, acid brick and coatings, material purchasing, and warehouse management.

According to the company’s website, it started in 1994 utilizing a Small Business Association loan.

R&H operates inside a 2,500-square-foot building and has 22 full-time permanent employees.

“We care deeply about long-term relationships with our customers. To maintain that relationship we provide safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness on a foundation of honesty and integrity,” according to the website.

The Edward Lowe Foundation (www.edwardlowe.org), based in Michigan, was established in 1985 to leverage entrepreneurship as a way to foster economic and community development.

“Our entrepreneurship initiatives are focused on second-stage companies – growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but haven’t yet reached maturity. Our peer learning, leadership education, and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing,” according to the foundation’s website.

For more information about the LED Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative program, contact Christopher Cassagne, assistant director of Small Business Services at 225-342-5882 or Christopher.Cassagne@la.gov.

The Alliance/Chamber SWLA wants to congratulate Henry’s Travel Plaza and R&H Quality Refractory Services for being chosen to participate in the LED initiative.

Our five-parish business environment is strengthened when local businesses enhance their resources and knowledge base. 

Eric Cormier is Vice President of Policy and Strategic Development at the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance/Chamber SWLA. He can be contacted at 337-433-3632 or ecormier@allianceswla.org.

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