On Tuesday, Sept. 30, a three-hour class co-sponsored by the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (STEDF) taught business owners to capitalize on Small Business Saturday – a critical event supported by a growing local consumer base.
''Small business owners contribute significantly to our parish economy and offer vital services to residents,'' said Brenda Bertus, CEO for STEDF. ''The St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation values any opportunity to encourage and nurture the small businesses in our area.''
At no cost to registrants, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) at Southeastern Louisiana University hosted “Tips for Scoring Big on Small Business Saturday” from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Mandeville. Attendants learned to develop successful campaigns for the shopping event Small Business Saturday, held every year after Black Friday. Speaker Kim Walker of 5 Stones Media discussed social media marketing, email marketing, event marketing and more.
The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the event with STEDF.
Jennifer Barnett, regional business strategies coordinator for the Region One Workforce Investment Board Partnership, determined through census data that the workforce in St. Tammany Parish has grown since Hurricane Katrina, providing a larger consumer base for these small businesses.
In 2000, St. Tammany Parish had a population of 191,268. Barnett said 52,681 people both lived and worked in St. Tammany Parish, with 34,449 residents commuting to other parishes for work. Population increased after Hurricane Katrina to 233,740 by 2010, with 65,854 people bot living and working in St. Tammany and 36,118 workers commuting to other parishes.
Residents who remained in St. Tammany Parish to work increased by 20 percent in the five years after Hurricane Katrina, while residents who commuted outside the parish only increased by 4.8 percent.
''The increase of St. Tammany residents that are able to both live and work in the parish definitely speaks to the tremendous business growth that St. Tammany has continued to experience,'' Barnett said. ''St. Tammany opened its doors to many transplanted by Katrina and was able to quickly respond, resulting in business attraction, necessary job opportunities and continued quality of life that encourages residents to work within their home parish.''
Barnett said, ''I expect this (growth) trend to continue into 2020 and beyond.''
For regional census information, visit www.regiononeworks.net.
STEDF leads economic development in St. Tammany Parish, attracting new business and employment opportunities to the area. The organization seeks to improve parish residents’ quality of life by strengthening and supporting the business climate. For more information, call STEDF at (985) 809-7874 or visit stedf.org.