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Companies looking to operate businesses in Louisiana will soon be provided with a unique tool to help them locate available properties and buildings to operate their businesses, find suppliers and customers easily and tap into universities for expertise and services in numerous fields.

These services will be available soon at www.Louisiana1st.com and the best part is that it will cost companies nothing to utilize them.

The portal, being developed by the Center for Business and Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in partnership with Louisiana Economic Development, will be previewed at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Baton Rouge on March 24.

The Louisiana1st.com portal will be home to LouisianaCommerce, LouisianaLocate and LouisianaExperts. Having these services available in one location is a first for Louisiana businesses, providing them the opportunity to grow and promote their organizations like never before.

LouisianaCommerce, formerly known as LACES, has been up and running since March 2003 at www.Louisiana1st.com. It is an online business directory where Louisiana-based companies can promote their products and services to other businesses and individuals at no cost to them.

“ The LouisianaCommerce system, for international promotion of Louisiana businesses on the World Wide Web, could have a profound impact on Louisiana business. CBIT’s commitment will help Louisiana become a Top 10 state as envisioned in Vision 2020,” said Gregg Gothreaux, Lafayette Economic Development Authority president and CEO.

The mission of the website is to increase commerce and facilitate economic development in the state via the Internet. After almost a year of operation, over 2,700 companies are actively managing their profiles with more than 1,000 Louisiana products being accessed per month Louisiana1st.comworldwide. It offers companies a free Internet presence allowing them to post information on their business such as contact numbers, email and web addresses and descriptions of products and services.

The LouisianaCommerce directory has already paid off for one Acadiana business. LA PAC, a bag manufacturer in Crowley, made a connection with a Venezuelan company during an oil technology conference where the system was being showcased. An overseas purchase was made and a new profitable working relationship was formed.

LouisianaLocate and LouisianaExperts are currently being designed and should be available later this year. LouisianaLocate will allow users to view available property listings throughout Louisiana. They will be provided details on the size, location and availability of different commercial properties and buildings throughout the state. With the web site, companies looking to establish a business in Louisiana will be provided all the necessary tools to find an optimal location for their business.

LouisianaExperts is an on-line resource that provides a means where businesses can seek faculty and staff expertise available within Louisiana’s colleges and universities. It will match high-level experts with specific business needs. The database of experts will contain scientists, scholars, authors, engineers, administrators and more, who are associated with universities in the state and are willing to provide their expertise to meet the needs of business and industry.

“ With no other website in the country offering these services in one location, Louisiana1st.com is a resource that will change the way companies operate in our state,”said Ramesh Kolluru, Director of CBIT. “Louisiana1st.com promotes Louisiana companies to a worldwide audience and creates new opportunities companies didn’t even know existed.”

These opportunities will be created by businesses that use all these tools together. Companies will be able to view available properties through LouisianaLocate. They can then scout an area using the LouisianaCommerce system to find competitors, suppliers, and other businesses in the vicinity. They will also be able to look into other services available to their families in an area such as schools, churches and libraries. Lastly, once a company is established, it can tap into Louisiana’s academic resources by contacting experts in their business field through the LouisianaExperts directory.

Used together, these tools will provide valuable resources to all businesses operating in Louisiana. For more information on Louisiana1st.com, please contact Ernie Ballard at (337) 482-0628.