Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
A few months ago, the Center for Business and Information Technologies at UL Lafayette introduced a new way for Louisiana businesses to partner with other businesses. This new technology - the Louisiana Commerce Exchange System - connects Louisiana businesses with the world via the Internet.
The online directory or LACES - located at www.louisiana1st.com - is a free way for businesses to advertise themselves to other companies by listing in-depth product and service information along with phone contacts, email addresses and websites.
The directory listing for one Crowley company recently paid off. LA PAC - a bag manufacturer which is back in business after a nearly-devastating fire early this year - made a connection with a Venezuelan company. The companies found one another during an oil technology conference in Houston where LACES was being showcased by the Louisiana Economic Development department.
The Venezuelan business was looking for a manufacturer of 'bulk' bags. LED officials immediately searched the online directory and found LA PAC.
"Had LACES not been available, this would not have happened," Felipe Martinez, LED project manager said. "This company was looking for a particular product and we were able to go into the directory and find the bags they were looking for."
Martinez, who was at the trade show with ClecoÕs director of business and economic development Katie Chiasson, sent an email message to LA PAC straight from the conference.
"This was a great match and LACES really made the show for the state," Chiasson explained. "These companies could send email right from the show. There were no lost opportunities."
Edward Leger with LA PAC said the company has already sent samples to the Venezuelan company. Now, they are waiting to hear back.
"We've developed a relationship we may not have had otherwise," said Leger. "It's getting harder and harder to keep our machines busy without butting heads with competitors in other states. We have to find new markets. And those markets can come from sites like LACES. Technology is definitely helping."
"With LACES new opportunities are created where companies didn't even know they existed. Businesses can log onto www.louisiana1st.com and post information about their products and services," said Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies. "And anyone can view this information at any time with the idea being that businesses across the globe can access the website to find a Louisiana company to fill their specific business needs."
LACES is the state's first, free searchable directory of this type. The goal is to increase sales and business-to-business partnerships for existing Louisiana companies. All businesses have to do is spend two minutes on the website to register.
Most Louisiana companies are already listed on LACES through a pre-populated database. Specific information, however, must come directly from the companies.
Once a business registers, the center calls the company for confirmation. After this process, businesses are free to post information about their products and services.
For more information about LACES or to list a business, contact the center at (337) 482-0620.