A strong partnership between Hancock Whitney and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center in New Orleans is helping more entrepreneurs achieve their goals and grow their business.
Carmen Sunda, director of the center, said the partnership was born out of the realization that the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Hancock Whitney had a common mission – to help business owners obtain the necessary funds to take their businesses to the next level.
“We’re kind of in the same game. We’re finding ways to help them grow their business,” Sunda said. “Because our goal is to help entrepreneurs access capital and because we do a lot of training on financing, our main referral source is lenders. When a bank like Hancock Whitney understands that and is focused on helping people access capital, that’s a great partnership because then we can step in and provide that training and advice.
Sunda said she also appreciates Hancock Whitney’s focus on meeting long-term business needs and building relationships with entrepreneurs. For example, even if Hancock Whitney cannot service a certain loan, they often stay in touch with business owners as they work with the LSBDC and other loan sources to be successful.
“They don’t tell people it’s a no and never come back,” Sunda said. “They say it’s a maybe and give them other steps to take first. This is what really makes loans work. It’s about giving business owners the knowledge they need to create an impact. »
Xavier University of Louisiana Entrepreneurship Institute’s LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region free training and consulting services cover several areas, including identifying funding sources, disaster preparedness and recovery, creating loans and business proposals. financing and the development of business plans. Sunda said one of the most common questions entrepreneurs have is how to get the money they need for their business and the best loan product. This is a major area where the LSBDC can provide guidance.
“The most prepared business owner goes to a lender with a plan for growth and plenty of information about the opportunity they have, why they have it, how much money they need, and how it will create revenue and profit,” Sunda said. “You have to be very precise. You also need to look for the right amount of financing. Sometimes lenders will look at a plan and encourage the business owner to ask for more money because they need it to make the project a success.
Sunda said she was pleased with the “seamless” partnership the center has with Hancock Whitney. Now, as New Orleans businesses continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic and recent storms, the LSBDC and Hancock Whitney stand ready to provide whatever support they can.
“We are all working towards the same goal of helping businesses grow and creating a thriving economy,” she said. “Hancock Whitney is a great partner because they are dedicated to this mission. Here at the center, companies come to us at all stages of their lifecycle whether they need resources, a sounding board or help to solve a problem. It is a real joy for all of us to contribute to help them on this journey.
To learn more about business support services from the New Orleans Area Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, visit louisianasbdc.org.
To learn more about Hancock Whitney’s services, visit www.hancockwhitney.com/small-business.