“It’s gratifying to work for an agency that’s highly respected locally and is also considered one of the finest state networks in the nation,” Jim Kilcoyne, director at the LSBDC center at NSU, said.
Accreditation qualifies the LSBDC to continue to receive Small Business Administration funds administered by the Office of Small Business Development Centers.
“This achievement affirms our commitment to providing quality programs, the highest customer satisfaction and continuous improvement,” said Mary Lynn Wilkerson, LSBDC state director. “Maintaining our accreditation is critical for the LSBDC to continue serving small businesses and supporting economic development across Louisiana.”
The accreditation review, mandated by Congress, is modeled after the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The review process involves an intensive examination of leadership and organizational management, strategy development, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery and program performance. These standards ensure that the investments made by the federal and state government, as well as the host institution of the statewide program, University of Louisiana at Monroe, and local host institutions result in strong returns for Louisiana’s small businesses and the overall economy.
The review team recognized the business continuity and risk management (BCRM) program, Ready for Anything, as a “Best Practice.” The program provides small businesses with education, training and business management assistance needed to minimize its losses and increase survivability when affected by workplace disruptions or natural and man-made disasters. The review team also commended the LSBDC for their ongoing disaster response efforts following the oil spill and the five hurricanes that have struck Louisiana in recent years.
Designated and funded as the state’s principal provider of small business assistance by Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center is the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides free business consulting to entrepreneurs. Through a network of 10 centers, the LSBDC provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.
In January, the LSBDC recently received the highest rating offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Entrepreneurial Development, Financial Examination Unit. The rating, a Level 1, signifies that the LSBDC is in excellent financial compliance standing and is self-certifying and that its network budget has been appropriately managed. This is the second consecutive time that the LSBDC has received a Level 1 rating.
Over the last 10 years, through its partnership with Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the LSBDC has served over 116,000 small businesses–creating nearly 9,000 new jobs, 1,400 new businesses, $671 million in capital and $693 million in new state income tax revenue.