There is no question that New Orleans will rebuild. However, some businesses have been slow to return to the Big Easy. And, without the jobs, people are also reluctant to return.
USA Today recently reported that prior to Hurricane Katrina, there were 19,000 companies providing employment for 190,000 workers in New Orleans. While some companies have only temporarily relocated to other places; some, like the corporate headquarters for Ruth’s Chris Steak House, have decided not to return to New Orleans.
It is expected that numerous entrepeneurs and small business owners will be returning, or even creating, new businesses based on emerging opportunities that are presenting themselves during the rebuilding phase.
Louisiana offers several incentive programs specifically for small business owners. One of these programs is the Small & Emerging Business Development Program.
This program provides developmental assistance including entrepreneurial training, marketing, computer skills, accounting, business planning, legal, industry specific and many other forms of business assistance. Members are also eligible for the Bond Assistance Program, additional guaranty support under the LEDC Loan Guaranty Program, and consideration for bidding on selective service or product purchase by state agencies.
To qualify, you must be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. and have lived in Louisiana at least one year, have a net worth no higher than $200,000 excluding your personal residence and any bona fide retirement assets; at least 60 percent of a for-profit business based in Louisiana that legally exists and has a net worth no higher than $750,000; and work at least 35 hours per week in the subject business.
If you are thinking about starting a business in New Orleans, for information on how to incorporate that business in the State of Louisiana.