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Small Business Development Center named state's best

Loyola press release - May 31, 2011

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Greater New Orleans Region, hosted by the Loyola University New Orleans College of Business, was recently awarded the 2011 Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award at a reception held at the governor’s mansion May 24.

The award is given annually to an SBDC program that demonstrates excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation. The LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region was among 19 award winners from around the state recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Louisiana Economic Development.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this honor,” said center director Carmen Sunda. “A key part of our success is our team of talented consultants. This award is a testament to our team’s hard work and commitment to providing quality service to entrepreneurs in the Greater New Orleans Region.”

From 2008 to date, LSBDC GNOR has assisted 4,016 businesses representing 18,056 full-time and 2,159 part-time employees with over $1 billion in sales. They have assisted businesses in creating 870 jobs, retaining 2,507 jobs, obtaining more than $55 million in capital formation and opening 163 new businesses.

In addition to Sunda, other staff members recognized by the award were consultants Wayne Aucoin, Tatiana Clay, Youlander Fulton, Christian Galvin, Jerrelyn Madere, Allen Villarrubia, Sandy Nguyen, Thoai Nguyen, Dianne Sclafani, Mike Pennison and Mike Cusack.

The center has been involved in a wide range of projects that include partnering with Seedco Financial to provide business services to hundreds of fisheries at the Fisheries Assistance Center, promoting international trade, partnering with area commercial banks and lenders to host a lender forum with small businesses and partnering with local organizations to establish a local chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners.

Most recently, the center helped develop the statewide business continuity and risk management program, Ready for Anything. This program, available through the LSBDC, prepares small businesses to anticipate and mitigate the impact of business interruption.

Through its efforts for the past five years, LSBDC GNOR has become the region’s first responders for small businesses and the small business expert in business continuity and small business disaster recovery. Sunda and her team were instrumental in the recovery efforts following the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The center assisted almost 2,000 businesses devastated by its impact.

The LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region serves the seven-parish region of Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist.

For more information, call the SBDC at 504-831-3730 or visit www.lsbdc.org.