Monday, June 01, 2015
St. John the Baptist Parish – On Wednesday, May 27, the largest class of business owners (24), graduated from the Kauffman Foundation FastTrac Entrepreneurial Training Program. The award winning program is offered through the St. John Business Training Center and is housed at the South Central Louisiana (SCL) Technical College, River Parishes Campus.
President Natalie Robottom and Council Members Lucien Gauff and Jaclyn Hotard joined Carmen Sunda Director of Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), Wayne Aucoin, Business Continuity Consultant and John Matthews Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Services for the graduation ceremony. The guest speaker for the program was Phyllis Cassidy, Executive Director and founder of Good Works Network and QuickBooks instructor from New Orleans. In addition to being the largest graduating class, the number of family members on hand to celebrate with graduates was the largest. “We are extremely pleased with the success of the program in meeting the needs of local business owners and providing them with best practices in entrepreneurialism. The FastTrac program provides assistance to new and existing owners considering expansion and allows them to leave with actionable business plans,” said Parish President Robottom. “Although this session is ending, we look forward to offering additional training opportunities through the Business Training Center and our Economic Development Department.”
FastTrac is a nationally recognized entrepreneurial training program developed by the Kaufman Foundation, a recognized leader in entrepreneurship. The program includes ten sessions of approximately 40-50 hours of training over ten weeks. Each session includes facilitated activities and group discussions on multiple business topics; a guest speaker related to each topic; networking; coaching sessions; and wrap up and action steps. “My classmates and I are extremely thankful for the opportunity and all that has been given to us and we are ready to put what we learned into action,” said Valencia Green, 25 year business owner of Terence Day Care. Mrs. Green indicated that she signed up for the program to create networking and marketing opportunities.
Throughout the program, participants are provided assistance with business plans, business and financial skills and tools with strategies for immediate implementation. Participants are eligible to apply for funding assistance and business loans and have access to a program workbook and online FastTrac toolkit for life. “This is without a doubt the best training I have ever had,” said James Anthony, 2015 graduate and owner of Power Products Enterprises, LLC.
All sessions were led by Wayne Aucoin with assistance from Jimmy Nguyen. The program is funded in part through a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with St. John the Baptist Parish Economic Development, Louisiana Economic Development-Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program, Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), and the South Central Louisiana Technical College, River Parishes Campus (SCL). Class participants were only responsible for $100 of the program fee. “We are proud of this program and its support for the development of aspiring entrepreneurs in moving their ventures or ideas into successful businesses,” said Laverne Saulny with the Economic Development Department. “The successful completion of the FastTrac program by each business owner is a testiment to the economic impact that can be created when parish and state officials work hand in hand,” she added.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Greater New Orleans and Bayou Region as well as the Economic Development Department will also provide follow-up assistance to help business owners on their path forward. “This is what happens when strong Parish leadership couples with Louisiana Economic Development and I am pleased to say that we are exceeding our goals and then some,” said Matthews.
Please visit the website calendar at www.sjbparish.com to view information on upcoming Economic Development Workshops. Applications for the Fall 2015 FastTrac session will be accepted in July. For more information or to apply, please contact the Office of Economic Development at (985) 652-9569 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.