Small businesses, including Black entrepreneurs, can gain potentially lucrative opportunities from President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

That’s mainly because the plan that became law last November offers many projects that small businesses could tap into. Consider that the plan consists of $550 billion of new federal investments for the nation’s infrastructure over five years. That will include everything from fixing America’s crumbling roads and bridges to touching its water, broadband, and energy systems.

Some $25 billion is for airports with uncompleted repair and maintenance work. There is $17 billion to brace up port infrastructure and $7.5 billion for building out a network of electric vehicle chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities.

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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Pictured, Left, Brenda Guess
Brenda Guess Appointed Assistant Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development
BATON ROUGE, La. – Brenda Guess, a 35-year veteran of Louisiana Economic Development with extensive leadership experience in state and municipal government and private sector business, has been named assistant secretary of the agency, LED Secretary Don Pierson announced today.

Guess, who has served since 2012 as director of LED’s Business Incentive Services office, will be chiefly responsible for guiding LED’s programs that grow Louisiana’s small business sector. The state’s support for small business has increased dramatically since Gov. John Bel Edwards took office in 2016, and will expand further in 2022 with the infusion of at least $74.2 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative funding from the U.S. Treasury. LED has been designated the state agency overseeing disbursement of those federal funds, which are designed to provide small business credit support and investment, and to increase access to capital among socially and economically disadvantaged business entities and underserved communities.

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.

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.

Small Business 101

Have you been considering starting your own small business but unsure of where to begin? Don’t miss out on this NO COST seminar that is designed to help entrepreneurs understand what it takes to start a business! You will be provided with information about Startup Fundamentals, Marketing and Business Planning, Licenses, Business Structures, Regulations and more.

Once you have successfully completed this session, you will be better able to decide if your business idea is worth pursuing, and you will be armed with the information necessary to continue onward with your business endeavor!

*Registration for this event is ONLINE or by calling 337-482-6312*
*There is NO CHARGE for this event*

Resilient Restart East Baton Rouge - Small Business Micro-Grant Program

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the City of Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish recognize the challenges that local businesses are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the short-term financial needs of microenterprises and small businesses, the Resilient Restart EBR: Small Business Micro-grants Program offers one-time, micro-grants of $2,500 to eligible entities that have been impacted by COVID-19. Recipients may use these funds for rent, utilities, inventory, accounts payable, fixed costs, employee wages and benefits. These are grant awards and repayment by the recipient is not required.

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 LED Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program provides managerial and technical assistance to small business owners to help them run, sustain and grow their businesses. The SEBD Program is delivered through LED partners who act as intermediaries throughout the state. Upon becoming SEBD certified, business owners meet with an intermediary who conducts a detailed assessment of their business and develops a plan of action based on that business's primary and most pressing needs.

The SEBD Program provides a 10-year certification that allows small business owners to access continued support to help enhance their business knowledge and capacity. The SEBD certification provides tools for new or existing Louisiana businesses to grow and thrive. Certification also can open the door to additional LED benefits such as the Mentor-Protégé Recognition Program and Bonding Assistance Program.

For more information, contact Tatiana Bruce at 225.342.5663 Tatiana.Bruce@la.govCamille Campbell at 225.342.5534 Camille.Campbell@la.govSolomon Lee at 225.342.4836
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.

3901 MacArthur Blvd,
Box 6012 New Orleans, LA 70114
Phone Number: 1 504-655-7572