The City of Alexandria is partnering with the Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business to create a 10-week online business training program for local entrepreneurs.
The Launchpad program, which will run from March 1 until May 5, is designed to help individuals interested in creating their own business develop an effective business plan and create a sustainable business model.
“By participating in the Launchpad program, these entrepreneurs will be able to search for a dynamic, proven business model that they can incorporate into their operation,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “That is a tremendous advantage for a start-up business. We are extremely fortunate to have outstanding resources available to us at the LSUA College of Business and we are grateful to Dr. Coreil and Dr. Dupont for stepping forward to help us serve our local business community. This is a program that will provide tremendous benefit not just to Alexandria, but to all of Central Louisiana.”
“The Launchpad program creates an amazing opportunity for business entrepreneurs in our community,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSUA Chancellor. “The joint effort between LSUA and the City of Alexandria utilizes the three main university objectives — workforce development, community collaboration and public service. Partnerships like these are what changes lives and creates opportunities right here in Central Louisiana.”
The program will be taught using Kauffman FastTrac® online content. Dr. Randall Dupont will serve as the program director and the training will be delivered by trained facilitators Dr. Hal Langford and Dr. Laura Carroll of LSUA. The majority of funding for the program will come from a $15,000 grant from the National League of Cities.
Participants will attend two 90-minute online sessions per week. At the conclusion of the program, each participant will deliver an oral presentation of their business plan’s executive summary. Topics covered include market research, business model design, pricing strategy, legal strategy, distribution and sales, financial management and building the organization.
The City of Alexandria is designated as a Small and Emerging Business Development Intermediary by Louisiana Economic Development. As such, the City is required to offer economic development-related training and project funding to SEBD certified small and emerging businesses. However, since only a small number of local small businesses that are eligible for SEBD certification have been certified, attendance has been low at local SEBD training events.
“We know there are many people locally who are interested in starting a small business, or are just starting out, that we have not been able to reach in the past,” said Richard Johnson, an economic development specialist with the City of Alexandria. “This program will allow us to reach anyone interested in starting a small business; they don’t have to be SEBD certified to participate. And then the hope is that when they launch their businesses they will go on to get SEBD certified and become eligible for additional training resources.”
The Launchpad program is open to entrepreneurial-minded individuals in the Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) area, which includes Rapides and Grant parishes, who have or are planning to locate a business in the Alexandria MSA. Space is limited and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Priority will be given to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses located in the Alexandria MSA that have been in operation three years or less. Participants are expected to attend at least 90 percent of the scheduled class sessions.