A strong partnership between Hancock Whitney and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center in New Orleans is helping more entrepreneurs achieve their goals and scale their businesses.
Carmen Sunda, director of the center, said the partnership grew out of a recognition that the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region at the Xavier University of Louisiana Entrepreneurship Institute and Hancock Whitney share a common mission — to help business owners obtain the funding needed to to get their business to the next level.
“We’re kind of in the same game. We find ways to help them grow their businesses,” Sunda said. “Because we aim to help entrepreneurs access capital and because we conduct a lot of funding training, lenders are our number one source of referrals. 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 business needs over the long term and building relationships with entrepreneurs. For example, even when Hancock Whitney is unable to meet a particular loan, they often stay in touch with business owners as they work with the LSBDC and other loan sources to achieve success.
“They don’t tell people it’s a no and never to come back,” Sunda said. “They say it’s a maybe and give them other steps to take first. That’s what really matters with lending. It’s about giving business owners the knowledge they need to make a difference.”
The free training and consulting services at the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region at the Xavier University of Louisiana Entrepreneurship Institute cover multiple areas including identifying funding sources, disaster preparedness and recovery, creating loan packages and funding proposals, and developing business plans. Sunda said one of the most common questions entrepreneurs have is how to get the money they need to run their business and the best loan product. This is an important area in which the LSBDC can provide guidance.
“The most prepared business owner goes to a lender with a growth plan and lots of information about the opportunities they have, why they have them, how much money they need, and how it will translate into revenue and profit,” Sunda said. “You have to be very precise. You also need to look for the right amount of funding. 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, both LSBDC and Hancock Whitney stand ready to provide as much support as possible.
“We are all working toward the same goal of helping businesses grow and creating a thriving economy,” she said. “Hancock Whitney is a great partner because they are committed to this mission. Here at the center, companies come to us at any point in their life cycle when they need resources, a sounding board or help solving a problem. It is a real pleasure for all of us to be able to accompany her on this journey.”
To learn more about the business support services provided by the Louisiana Small Business Development Center New Orleans Region at the Xavier University of Louisiana Entrepreneurship Institute, visit louisianasbdc.org.
For more information on Hancock Whitney’s services, visit www.hancockwhitney.com/small-business.