MBECA opens LEAP Center and launches peer-to-peer roundtables

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Executive Director of MBECA Lee Melancon

The Microbusiness Enterprise Corporation of Ascension (MBECA) is happy to announce it will be grand opening its new LEAP Center on August 12, 2017 at 9am as part of the Ascension Small Business Power Week activities. In conjunction with the opening, MBECA is launching a new program; the Small & Emerging Business Development Program SEBD Roundtables. The program is currently accepting applications for a limited number of participants and will begin in August and will run one time per month for ten workshops. Since only one business type is allowed in each roundtable, it is essential to apply early. Classes will be held at the MBECA LEAP Center located at Lamar Dixon Expo Center (in the gym behind the silos).

The program comes at a good time as we grand open the MBECA LEAP (Louisiana Entrepreneur Accelerator Program) Center,” Executive Director of MBECA Lee Melancon said.

The LEAP Center is an innovative addition to MBECA’s program list to assist entrepreneurs in growing small businesses in the region.

Located in Ascension Parish’s Lamar Dixon Expo Center, the LEAP Center of Ascension is designed to assist small businesses with ‘real-time’ development strategies for short-term problem solving in addition to long-range planning and execution through its LEAP Program and other programs offered by MBECA including the SEBD Roundtable Program,” Melancon said.

The accelerator allows small firms access to a personalized office space where business owners have access to a board room, training center, and a centralized receptionist,” Compliance Director for MBECA Lisa Thibodaux said. "In addition to enrollment in any of MBECA’s programs, participating entrepreneurs have ongoing access to MBECA’s counselors, advisors, and lenders through specialized training and technical assistance programs.”

The Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Roundtables provide business owners with the opportunity to improve leadership skills, sharpen decision-making abilities and build lasting relationships through peer-to-peer learning,” Cory Morgan of Louisiana Economic Development said. “SEBD Roundtables bring together 15-18 small and emerging business owners from SEBD certified businesses for 10 monthly roundtable meetings over the course of a year to share challenges and learn from the experiences of their peers.”

The roundtables provide access to trained facilitators who keep discussions on track and relevant for all participants; expert guest speakers who provide information on key business topics; structured protocols that sheds new light on both problems and opportunities; shared experiences rather than advice; safe environments in which to process sensitive business challenges with peers; and the ability to get just-in-time answers to pressing issues.

Participants in this roundtable system report that the experience helps them reach better decisions and action plans, affirm what they’re doing right and identify what they need to improve,” Melancon said. “They also develop trusted relationships to share both business and personal issues.”

To ensure the best fit for selected participants, a number of factors are considered, including experience level, business size, non-competitiveness and existing business relationships, but all participants must be certified in the SEBD Program. Seating is limited and tables are anticipated to start in early summer. Louisiana Economic Development is licensed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to use the PeerSpectivesTM Roundtable System for SEBD Roundtables.

LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program provides the managerial and technical assistance training needed to grow and sustain a small business. It provides for developmental assistance, including entrepreneurial training, marketing, computer skills, accounting, business planning, and legal and industry-specific assistance; consideration for bidding on select products or services purchased by state agencies; and SEBD Intermediaries provide a free needs assessment and assistance with accessing other program benefits.

To learn more about the SEBD Program, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com/SEBD. To apply, complete visit www.mbeca.org in the News or Blog section to locate the pre-screening application and email to mbeca@mbeca.org. For further questions involving the program, call 225-445-1383.

Contributed Report