Online training offered for small businesses

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

Louisiana Economic Development has launched a new online training portal for Small and Emerging Business Development-certified businesses, the agency announced Friday.

The online resource,, is designed to provide small businesses access to more than 40 course options, including marketing, strategic planning, computer skills, accounting, budget management, customer service and business etiquette.

"One of our top priorities is to cultivate small business, innovation and entrepreneurship statewide," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "By offering online training resources, we can reach more small businesses and provide them with increased access to tools that will help them succeed and grow."

Course content is divided into three business levels: startup, mid-growth and high-growth. Participants can view instructional videos, download course materials and participate in workshops at their convenience 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All courses are created by SkillSoft, a leading SaaS provider of on-demand training.

A business must be certified through the SEBD program to utilize the free online training services. LED is piloting the online training portal with more than 1,200 SEBD-certified businesses. After launch, LED plans to add customized content about the state's incentives, workforce training and more as demand increases.

The online training resource now allows the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network and SEBD intermediaries to implement blended learning techniques to better serve businesses statewide. "The online training resource will elevate the level of service and opportunity that is currently offered to small business owners certified in the Small and Emerging Business Development Program," said Heidi Melancon, senior business consultant at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "It is an additional tool to provide education and information on a wide range of entrepreneurial and business topics that is equally accessible for businesses of all sizes and in different stages of growth."

LED's SEBD program provides Louisiana small businesses with access to entrepreneurial training and counseling through the state's universities, Small Business Development Centers and service-providers. SEBD-certified businesses are eligible for the Bonding Assistance Program, qualify for additional guaranty support under the Louisiana Economic Development Corp.'s Loan Guaranty Program and receive consideration for bidding on selective service or product purchases by state agencies. Further information is available at

Since 2008, LED has launched several programs to cultivate and support small businesses and entrepreneurship throughout Louisiana, including the LED Small Business Advisory Council, or SBAC. The council was established in April 2010 to help guide the department's efforts to strengthen small business competitiveness and entrepreneurship. The insights provided by the SBAC members will assist LED in developing strategies to address some of the barriers that small businesses face and advance policies and programs that make small businesses more competitive in Louisiana. SBAC is made up of 18 small business owners representing all eight regions of the state.

In 2010 alone, LED's SEBD program served 1,800 small businesses; LED and LSBDCs served 14,000 small businesses and individuals -- creating 1,300 new jobs, 230 new businesses and $43 million in capital investment of small businesses.

Other information about Louisiana's small business is available at