Grow St. Bernard recognizes local businesses for completion of program

Local business owners and professionals recognized for completing Grow St. Bernard Program including (from left to right) Lori Noto, Sabrina Schmidt, Gabriel Harvey, Deborah Keller, Elizabeth Borne, Marc Rea, Jessica Defraites, Jessica Reab, Kelly Sheeran, Lisa McCracken, Lesichia Hills, Joy Bruce, Shane Quirk, Cindy Rychaert, Sandra Avalos, Wendy Haines, Tim Clements, Heather Hutton, and Rachel Roussell.

Starting and growing a business can be one of the most challenging endeavors undertaken by an individual in this day and age. Business owners and their employees are often faced with the need to develop skills and attain knowledge they may not possess in order to meet the demands of a market that is constantly evolving.

Grow St. Bernard is seminar series created to address the disparity between educational opportunities available to startups and the needs of entrepreneurs strapped for time and resources. The program, a joint venture between the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) and the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the completion of its first cohort on June 13, 2017.

Grow St. Bernard’s inaugural cohort of nineteen businesses includes law offices, restaurants, retailers, and a variety of professional services providers spanning throughout the parish. “This year’s participants were quite diverse, and all shared the desire to become more informed business owners,” explained Andrew Jacques, SBEDF Executive Director. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the overwhelming interest the program has received. It validates our belief that Grow St. Bernard, and professional development programs like it, are providing a service that companies are looking for to remain competitive and viable.”

Organizations recognized for completion of the program include: Clements Insurance Services, Brewster’s Restaurant & Lounge, Pirogue’s Whiskey Bayou, Sandra & AA Stucco, LLC, Casa New Orleans, The Cottage Store, Café Aquarius, Big Chief Vapor Products, Crazy Cajun’s Fish Shack, Deborah D. Keller & Partners, Devoted Dance Academy, Evanschmidt Design, Functional Health & Wellness, Lori Noto Law Firm, Reactive Digital Systems, Shoemaker Chiropractic, Tabary & Borne, LLC, The Lady’s Garden & Gifts, and Leeside.

The program hosted seminars about small business bookkeeping, marketing and social media strategy, funding and alternative financing, business planning, and several other pertinent topics. They also included presentations and panel discussions lead by experts in their field including Editor of the Advocate, Peter Kovacs, Amy Boyle-Collins of Gambel Communications, SBA District Director Mick Ricks, and Zack Smith, Owner of Zack Smith Photography.

Tim Clements, Past Chairman of the St. Bernard Chamber Board of Directors and a member of the 2017 Grow St. Bernard cohort, believes programming like this will leave a lasting impression. “All too often, we see businesses open and close too quickly due to lack of basic business knowledge. The knowledge offered through Grow St. Bernard will reduce this turnover and create more new and lasting businesses, which will lead to an overall stronger business community,” explained Clements.

About Grow St. Bernard

Grow St. Bernard, a seminar series, powered by the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation and the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, offers professional insight on a variety of topics pertinent to emerging and growing businesses.  Participants also benefit from sharing experiences and strategies with the cohort of small businesses.  The educational series encourages business owners and professionals to turn information into action. 

About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation  

St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to retain and create jobs, build prosperity, and improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. The Board of Directors consist of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization. SBEDF’s work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, Cox Communications, Chalmette Refining, and Valero at the Impact Champion Level, Atmos Energy, the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level, and Palmisano Group, Park Investments and Boasso America at the Community Leaders Level.

About St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce

The St. Bernard Chamber is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of the St. Bernard business community, supporting the growth of the local economy, and partnering with local entities for the betterment of St. Bernard Parish.  The St. Bernard Chamber provides ongoing opportunities to St. Bernard and the surrounding region to network, advocate on behalf of business, and develop professional and leadership skillsets that enhance our local business environment.