The latest Kauffman Index on Growth Entrepreneurship showed Louisiana toward the top of its rankings of large states, thanks in part to a particularly strong trend on scale-ups. The state has the highest share of scale-ups in the U.S. -- the number of firms that started small but grew to employ fifty people or more by their tenth year of operation as a percentage of all employer firms ten years and younger. One program that seems to be contributing to that is the Economic Gardening Initiative run by Louisiana Economic Development.
The program offers "accelerated technical assistance and research" for companies with the potential for high growth including:
According to a recent article in The Advocate, businesses that participated in the program during its first three years have added the equivalent of 558 full-time jobs and increased revenue by $170 million. LED spends roughly $400,000 per year on the program and it currently serves about 60 second-stage growth companies -- one with five or more employees, but not more than 100, and has annual revenues that exceed $600,000 but are less than $50,000,000.
The program maintains a screening process to ensure qualified candidates and the entire engagement lasts between three and six weeks on average.
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