Small businesses in Louisiana are faced with a number of challenges, from the state's high corporate income tax rate and sales tax to its low ranking in the Tax Foundation's State Business Fiscal Climate Index report. Despite these issues, Louisiana offers many advantages that make it an attractive area for entrepreneurs. To better understand the needs of small business owners, the state's Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) is working to address these challenges. More than half of Louisiana's private sector workforce (about 892,000 people) works in small businesses, and 97 percent of the state's businesses are small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The professional, scientific, and technical services sectors have the highest number of small businesses operating in them, with 53,619 businesses in total.
To help small business owners succeed, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development is providing access to capital, management skills training, and assistance with overcoming obstacles to growth. In addition to state-level initiatives, there are also local organizations that are helping small businesses. For example, Cohab in Shreveport offers high-tech shared workspace for entrepreneurs and small business owners, while encouraging networking and creative partnerships between industries. LED's small and start-up business development program provides specialized training for early-stage business owners in software, biomedicine, manufacturing and other target sectors. Tracy Carter, owner of Jac's Craft Smokehouse in West Monroe, is one example of a small business owner who has benefited from these initiatives. He said that participating in organizations and other events puts you and your company ahead of others.
Five cities in northern Louisiana - Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles - are also working to balance business and housing needs when using disbursement funds. Overall, Louisiana is making strides to support its small business owners. With access to capital, specialized training programs and local initiatives like Cohab, entrepreneurs have the resources they need to succeed.