Your Resource for Business News and Recovery in Louisiana
Ascension Parish hydrogen production and carbon capture project will result in 170 new direct jobs, 413 new indirect jobs

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Air Products’ Chairman, President and CEO Seifi Ghasemi announced the company will develop a $4.5 billion clean energy complex near Burnside in Ascension Parish.

This will also be the world’s largest permanent carbon dioxide sequestration endeavor to date. Air Products will construct a blue hydrogen manufacturing complex to produce more than 750 million standard cubic feet per day of blue hydrogen, with carbon dioxide from the manufacturing process captured and permanently sequestered.

The plant will be the first carbon-capture project in Louisiana for Air Products, a world-leading industrial gas manufacturer that provides hydrogen and other gases to refineries, petrochemical plants and other customers in Louisiana, across the Gulf Coast and around the globe.

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Louisiana Mask Mandate Extended

Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks, until October 27, as the state’s overall COVID-19 outlook improves following the state’s worst COVID-19 surge of the entire pandemic. The statewide mask mandate includes K-12 schools and college campuses.
Why Small to Mid-sized Businesses Are Perfect Targets for Hackers
There are many challenges to running a business that owners must face including the countless tasks, roles and responsibilities that keep a business running smoothly. Higher on the list of concerns for business owners is cybersecurity that can put many businesses at risk. If a breach takes place and a hacker gains access to a business’s network, a great deal of damage can be done. Additionally, as more businesses continue to advance digital operations, the more at risk they become to cyberthreats.

Cyberattacks are a growing threat for small businesses. According to a recent Small Business Association (SBA) survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Yet many businesses cannot afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity or they don’t know where to begin. While cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, the risks are not diminishing any time soon.

Here are four ways small to mid-sized businesses can protect themselves against cyberattacks... Read More

Foundation Conducting Community Health Needs Assessment

The Rapides Foundation is conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) via phone survey from September until November throughout its nine-parish service area.
The purpose of this assessment is to identify major health problems, gaps in service and other factors which may contribute to less-than-optimal health status for residents.
Community opinions and feedback are vital to the Foundation's work. If your family receives a call regarding the assessment, the Foundation would greatly appreciate your participation in this research.

To find out more or to view the Foundation’s past Community Health Assessments, click here. For specific questions concerning the phone survey, you may contact The Rapides Foundation at 318-443-3394 or 800-994-3394.

CDW Offers Fall Training Schedule
Community Development Works, a program of The Rapides Foundation, is offering free skill-building trainings in the form of interactive webinars for Cenla residents and nonprofits.
The training schedule started in September and trainings will continue to be presented through November.
A full list of fall training offerings can be found here.

Applications Being Accepted for 2022 CLIP Teacher Residency Program
The Orchard Foundation is accepting applications for the Central Louisiana Instructional Partnership (CLIP) program 2022 cohort.
CLIP is a teacher residency program focusing on developing middle school Math and Science teachers in high-needs schools in Central Louisiana.
The deadline to apply is March 31, 2022, and the program will run from June 2022 through August 2023.

LA SBDC to host Webinar for Small Business Cybersecurity Needs

Do you know the importance of having an information security policy? The SBDC will host a webinar “Cybersecurity Policies Every Small Business Needs” Oct. 22 at 9:30am CST. This webinar will discuss the importance of having extensive policies, proper security procedures and knowing that you’ve done what is needed to protect your organization. Is your business protected from cyber-attacks?

COVID-19 Perspectives: Session 3 – Reorganize, Retool, Recharge

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | 1:00-3:00pm
Pivoting ones business to meet the changing needs of the market can require an operational overhaul. During this session, participants will learn: 1) how to reorganize one’s business support model, including employees, suppliers, consultants, mentors, accountability partners, and others, with risk management in mind, and 2) how to assess and pivot the business’ structure, operations, staff, and 3) the tools being used to create efficiency, increase productivity and meet the needs of its customers. The session will include how entrepreneurs can recharge their mindsets and become energized about their pivot towards resilience.

What You Will Learn
  • How to evaluate the needs, opportunities, and gaps within the new business model
  • How to map the new business support model, training, and counseling needs
  • How to determine the tools and operational supports needed to ensure success

Plan to Stay in Business?

Business continuity planning must account for all hazards (both man-made and natural disasters). Plan in advance to manage any emergency situation. Assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business's recovery. Carefully evaluate internal and external operations to determine which staff members, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.

Talk to Your People

A solid business emergency plan only works if everyone on your team is aware of the plan and the actions they need to take.

  • Involve Co-Workers
  • Include people from all levels in emergency planning.

Practice the Plan
  • Drills and exercises will help you prepare.

Promote Preparedness
  • Encourage your employees and their families to: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.

Crisis Communication Plan
  • Detail how you will be in contact with employees, customers and others during and after a disaster.

Employee Health
  • People who have experienced a disaster may have special recovery needs.

Protect Your Investment

As well as planning for an emergency, you can also take steps to protect your company and secure your physical assets.
Insurance Coverage
  • Policies vary, meet with your provider to review current coverage.

Utility Disruptions
  • Prepare for extended outages during and after a disaster.

Facilities, Buildings & Plants
  • Take steps to secure physical assets.
  • Equipment
  • Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine what needs to be secured.

Building Air Protection
  • Assess the HVAC system to improve indoor air quality.

Cyber Security
  • Protect your data and information technology systems.
Mandi Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development
All vendors wishing to do business with the State of Louisiana must register online. Please use the following link to register as a vendor

 During the registration process, select all of the commodities your company is able to provide. You will then receive an email notification each time a bid is posted in one of the commodities for which you've registered.

Vendor Resources Page - Office of State Procurement’s website: 
Webinar: Emergency Procurement and How to Register
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.

The ByBlack program from the U.S. Black Chambers and American Express offers both a certification for businesses and a directory where customers can find them.

The program, ByBlack, was created in 2020 as a directory where consumers could browse Black-owned businesses. It will now also offer a no-cost certification aimed at helping Black business owners reach more customers--including other businesses--and access contracts, according to a press release.

After the George Floyd killing, corporations pledged to devote billions of dollars to advance racial justice, including buying from Black-owned suppliers and funding Black founders through their investment arms. And social media posts encouraged consumers to "buy Black," causing some small businesses to experience overwhelming demand. ByBlack aims to make it easier for both consumers and organizations to search for certified Black-owned businesses.

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