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Baton Rouge, New Orleans area Business Briefs for Aug. 22, 2021 – The Advocate

Program helps new farmers with risk

The LSU AgCenter has received a federal grant for a series of webinars, workshops and farm tours to train new farmers, particularly in the areas of finance and marketing, to help make them more risk-resilient.

The Southern Extension Risk Management Education grant was from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The amount was not reported.

The financial component focuses on financial literacy; accurate and informative financial statements; the use of enterprise budgets and partial budgets; ag-lenders and nontraditional lenders; and land leasing and access to land. Workshops will focus on computer bookkeeping programs, grant writing and loan applications.

The marketing component focuses on market diversification and horticultural crops, and direct marketing opportunities such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, farm to restaurant and online platforms to increase awareness of local market opportunities.

Project collaborators include local farmers Allison Guidroz, of Fullness Farm, and Madeline Yoste, of Compostella Farm; state agency representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; as well as First South Farm Credit, SPROUT NOLA and LSU AgCenter horticulture extension agents.

b1Bank launches business foundation

b1Bank has launched a foundation headed by Will M. Campbell Jr. as director, providing education and economic development support to entrepreneurs and small businesses as part of its community outreach efforts.

Campbell has more than 27 years of experience in the financial services industry and has held several positions including vice president of commercial lending and Small Business Administration lending manager and served as director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University.

The b1 Foundation will provide one-on-one counseling and in-person and virtual training to help small business owners with the knowledge they need to gain access to capital. Training will include breaking the lending code, business planning, growth planning, credit readiness, and understanding financial statements and legal structures. The foundation will also support financial literacy and education in b1Bank’s markets.

Business First Bancshares Inc., through its b1Bank subsidiary, operates 42 banking centers and two loan processing offices in markets across Louisiana and in the Dallas area.

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“The crux of b1Bank is supporting local businesses and entrepreneurship growth,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO of b1Bank. “The launch of b1 Foundation is the next step in b1’s business development and community engagement efforts put into action on a much larger scale.”

SOWELA opens Oakdale welding facilities

SOWELA Technical Community College has opened a welding classroom and renovated workshop at the college’s Oakdale site in Allen Parish.

Welding classes are available at all three SOWELA locations.

The renovated 2,242-square-foot Oakdale workshop features 24 booths and can accommodate 24 students in the nearly doubled workspace. The new 777-square-foot classroom can accommodate 20 students. Along with the booths and classroom, new technology is available to welding students including plasma cutters, Promethean board and computers.

Information is at

CIS subsidiary enters management agreement

A subsidiary of Cardiovascular Institute of the South in Houma has entered into a management partnership with Midwest Cardiovascular Institute, owned by 20 Chicago physicians and based in the towns of Naperville and Elmhurst, Illinois.

Cardiovascular Logistics of Chicago’s management agreement also includes strategic planning, quality performance improvement and operational efficiency of the cardiovascular service line at Edward Hospital in Naperville and Elmhurst Hospital in Elmhurst, both part of the Edward-Elmhurst Health System. CIS is also comanaging the cardiac catheterization labs at the two hospitals. Additionally, a Virtual Care Center, modeled from the CIS center in Lafayette, will be built in Naperville.

In addition to the Edward-Elmhurst Health agreement, CIS has 11 hospital comanagement agreements across Louisiana and Mississippi.