A pair of Livingston Parish businesses have been chosen to take part in a new statewide pilot program aimed at growing existing Louisiana companies.
Labarre Associates and Teknarus, both of Denham Springs, are among just 32 companies statewide chosen to participate in the Louisiana Economic Gardening Initiative, a new effort designed by Louisiana Economic Development to connect home-grown small businesses with national experts to provide the former with intensive market research, growth strategies and other resources they need to expand and succeed.
“Once this initiative proves successful, which we know it will [do], our goal is for many more of our companies to benefit from what economic gardening has to offer,” says Randy Rogers, president of the LED Council, which recommended the firms for the pilot program.
Economic gardening is an alternative to traditional economic development practices and embraces the fundamental idea that entrepreneurs drive economies. The concept, pioneered in 1987 in Littleton, Colo., when the state was in a recession, seeks to create jobs by supporting existing companies in a community.
The program was based on research by MIT’s David Birch, who suggested that most new jobs in any local economy were produced by the community’s small, local businesses. In Littleton, city leaders observed that only 3% to 5% of all companies were “high growth,” but determined that those “gazelles” were creating the great majority of new jobs.
Established in 1984, Labarre Associates is a diversified organization offering facilities, architecture, construction and real estate services for everything from site acquisition and design to construction and facility management. The company is headquartered in Denham Springs, has a branch office in Tallahassee, Fla., and services the entire Gulf Coast region.
Teknarus is a computer technology firm founded in 2000 that expanded nearly two years ago into larger quarters on South Range Avenue in Denham Springs. The firm provides tech support, custom software and programming, website and other graphic design, and technology consulting.
Through accelerated technical assistance and research, an experienced national economic gardening team will provide Labarre Associates and Teknarus customized services tailored to their business needs.
Services provided through the Economic Gardening Initiative include:
• A review of the company’s core strategies, including competitive threats and opportunities, business strategy, niche markets, and management and employee temperament;
• Market research and competitive intelligence, including qualified sales leads;
• A digital mapping of the company’s geographic areas to assist in targeted marketing efforts and analyzing the competitive environment;
• Search engine optimization to increase the company’s visibility and credibility within the market;
• An Internet and social media strategy to assist the company in best use of technology to connect with customers;
• Referrals to connect the company with top business leaders.
To be eligible for the new initiative, companies must have maintained their principal place of business in Louisiana for at least the past two years and have annual revenue ranging between $600,000 and $50 million. Employment must be between five and 100, and there must be demonstrated growth in annual revenue and/or jobs in two of the last five years. They must deliver products or services to customers outside the company’s local market area, and be in one of Louisiana’s target or emerging industries.