A Michigan-based foundation has recognized a Louisiana Economic Development initiative as a “best practice” model for implementing the concept known as economic gardening.
In a statement, Penny Lewandowski, a senior consultant on external relations at the Edward Lowe Foundation, the nonprofit that partners with LED, says Louisiana’s Economic Gardening initiative is a model “for providing a balanced approach to economic development that provides real results with a far smaller state investment.”
Economic gardening is a concept that embraces the idea that entrepreneurs drive economies. The initiative, which LED rolled out in 2011, provides small businesses with information to help them grow.
LED says 178 companies from throughout Louisiana have been accepted into the program since its inception. The companies have created a total of 581 new full-time-equivalent jobs and increased their revenues by more than $218 million.
For every dollar the state has invested in the initiative, it has received $8.13 back, LED says in a statement.
“Louisiana is a poster child for a successful Economic Gardening program,” says Paul Bateson, general manager of economic gardening at the Edward Lowe Foundation, in a statement. “State leaders truly understand how important second-stage companies are to job creation and economic prosperity, and they walk the talk, dedicating resources from both the LED and SBDC. There are active observers at every step of the engagement, from recruiting the right companies to providing participants with aftercare to implement research findings.”