Louisiana’s Economic Gardening Initiative Has Supported Over 200 Small Businesses

Louisiana Economic Development, the state’s economic development agency, has been running a program since 2011 that directly supports a range of businesses throughout Louisiana.

The Economic Gardening Initiative has worked with over 235 second-stage growth companies since inception, providing six weeks of research insights and analysis to all participating companies.

Watch Systems, creator of the nation’s leading sex offender registry technology, OffenderWatch, is one of the newer additions to the program. The company is one of 47 to join the Economic Gardening Initiative in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

“Watch Systems is a family-owned, Louisiana-based company, and we have been building our business for nearly 20 years,” said Ben Luzynski, CEO of Watch Systems and OffenderWatch. “We see our acceptance into LED’s prestigious Economic Gardening Initiative as validation of the hard work we have put in and what we have accomplished in those years. We are ready to take our business to the next level and continue creating jobs and new opportunities for Louisiana.”

Companies selected for the program must be primarily based in Louisiana for at least two years, have an annual revenue of $600,000 to $50,000,000, employ five to 100 people, and demonstrate growth in annual revenue or jobs in two of the last five years.

Beyond tech companies, the program includes industries such as manufacturing, education services, telecommunications, specialized design services, advertising, and more.

“Economic Gardening changed our market expansion efforts from being a guessing game to having clarity where there was a high likelihood of success,” said Chris Meaux, CEO of the rapidly growing food delivery startup Waitr.

A representative from Louisiana Economic Development shared that the 159 companies they have data on through the program have increased their annual gross by over $215 million and added 1,367 new full-time equivalent jobs.