BATON ROUGE, La. – Gov. John Bel Edwards has officially recognized Nov. 7-11 as Veterans Small Business Week in Louisiana, honoring veterans who continue to demonstrate their commitment to public service through business ownership and job creation.
The governor’s proclamation allows Louisiana to extend the spotlight on service that began Oct. 31 at the start of National Veterans Small Business Week, which annually showcases U.S. Small Business Administration programs and services available to veteran entrepreneurs.
“Our country’s progress is fueled by entrepreneurs who think big, take risks and work hard, and no group illustrates those characteristics better than our veterans and their families,” Gov. Edwards said. “We thank them for their continued dedication that goes beyond active duty service and into their communities here in Louisiana.”
Approximately 283,000 veterans reside in the state, according to the most recent U.S. Census. Louisiana Economic Development offers a variety of special assistance programs for vets seeking to launch, manage and grow their own businesses.
Louisiana’s Veteran Initiative is designed to help eligible veteran-owned and service-connected disabled-veteran-owned small businesses to gain greater access to state purchasing and contracting opportunities. Veterans can visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/Veteran-Initiative for eligibility guidelines and registration.
The Veterans First Business Initiative offers certification and promotion for participating businesses. The program allows veterans, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouses to be promoted on a searchable database that increases visibility to potential customers. Louisiana veterans are invited to visit LAVeteransFirst.org to get certified and listed.
The Pathway to Assist Veteran Entrepreneurs (PAVE) offers unique, virtual entrepreneurship training. The PAVE program provides tools for Louisiana veterans to start or manage a business through virtual classes. Veterans are invited to visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/PAVE to learn more.
Together with the Hudson Initiative, which helps qualified small businesses access purchasing and contracting opportunities with the state, the Veteran Initiative has helped certified small businesses secure $79 million in business with the state. Participation in the programs continues to grow: the Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative surpassed 900 certified program participants earlier this year, and more than 2,500 businesses have received Hudson and Veteran Initiative certification to date.
“As business owners, veterans continue to serve their communities and play a key role in the state’s economy,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “These established programs generate statewide economic benefits while helping veterans on an individual basis. LED encourages veterans within Louisiana’s business community to take advantage of these initiatives which recognize their service.”
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, rated the No. 1 customized workforce training program in the U.S. 13 years in a row. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.