Business Briefs for Feb. 23

SBA offering business owner training program

New Orleans and 26 other communities across the country were selected to host the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Emerging Leaders executive-level entrepreneurship training initiative for small-business owners.

Local recruitment for the 2014 training cycle is underway at selected SBA district offices; classes are scheduled to begin in April.

Last year, 11 small business owners from across Louisiana graduated from the New Orleans Emerging Leaders program.

The program is open to small-business owners and executives who have annual revenue of at least $400,000, have been in business for at least three years and have at least one other employee.

The seven-month executive entrepreneurship education series includes about 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small-business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders and financial communities.

The program is in its seventh year, training more than 2,000 small business owners in underserved communities to help their businesses grow and create jobs.

Sixty-two percent of surveyed participants have reported an increase in revenue while 72 percent reported maintaining or creating new jobs in their communities.

Graduates also have reported having secured more than $73 million in new financing for their businesses, and more confidence when competing for government contracts.

Companies have reported being awarded federal, state, local and tribal contracts, worth more than $1 billion.

Additional information is available at

Mosquito Patch gets race car sponsorship

The Mosquito Patch, an insect repellent produced by Thio LLC, of Baton Rouge, has an associate sponsorship deal with Venturini Motorsports for the 2014 Automobile Racing Club of America Series.

The insect-bite-prevention product launched the marketing effort at Daytona International Speedway and the Lucas Oil 200.

Venturini Motorsports is the reigning ARCA winner at Daytona.

Jacob FaKouri, principal and owner of THIO, called the sponsorship a “dream come true.”

The deal with Venturini Motorsports will promote The Mosquito Patch brand to a level that could not be achieved in any other sport or venue, he said.

Group holding benefit for future journalists

The Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists will hold its Second annual Scholarship Luncheon to benefit future journalists from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 17 at Boudreaux’s, 2647 Government St., Baton Rouge.

Guest speaker is Houston news reporter Isiah Carey, of KRIV-TV, “Fox 26,” a Baton Rouge native and former WAFB-TV reporter.

The organization also will honor pioneering journalists Yvonne Campbell, formerly of The Advocate; Mayor-President Kip Holden, formerly with radio station WXOK; Robert Renee, formerly of WAFB-TV; and WBRZ-TV news anchor Sylvia Weatherspoon.

Proceeds will fund scholarships for Southern University and LSU students. Sponsorships range from $500 to $5,000.

Contact Todd Sterling, luncheon chairman, at (225) 229–1906 or email

Ernst & Young opens office in Lafayette

Professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP has opened an office on the first floor of the Energy Plaza, 202 Rue Iberville, Lafayette.

“This newest southwest Louisiana location will enhance service to our clients in the Lafayette and surrounding areas,” said Bob Kimbro, managing partner of EY’s Louisiana practice.

EY is a global company in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. It has been doing business in the Louisiana since 1920 and has 160 employees in the state.

Fantastic Sams opens Carencro hair salon

Fantastic Sams has opened a hair salon at 111 Hector Connoly Road, Carencro.

The franchise is the sixth location operated by Lafayette entrepreneur Jim Mobley and his brother Billy.

The other locations are in Zachary, Central, Sulphur, Crowley, Lafayette and Pineville.

Hours of operation in Carencro are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Fantastic Sams Hair Salons has nearly 1,200 salons throughout North America. Its website is

Engineers group plans spring meeting in N.O.

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers will hold its 2014 Spring Meeting and 10th Global Congress on Process Safety from March 30 to April 3 at the Hilton New Orleans — Riverside.

More than 2,400 practitioners from 50 countries are expected to attend.

The meeting is made up of 150 sessions across eight topical conferences and special programs.

Topics focus on energy and safety developments.

Conference and symposium highlights include loss prevention, CCPS International Conference, Ethylene Producers’ Conference, refinery processing, process plant safety, gas utilization, process safety management, manufacturing in the 21st century, upstream engineering and flow assurance and advances in sustainability.

Repayment program taking applications

Applications are being accepted by the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program in Louisiana to help pay eligible educational loans for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors employed in Louisiana who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.

Repayments apply to both Federal Family Education Loan Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans.

Under the program, 12 eligible prosecutors will be awarded for $2,450 each, and six eligible public defenders will be awarded $4,900 each.

Two prosecutors and one public defender will be selected from each of the Louisiana circuit courts of appeal districts with the exception of the Fourth Circuit, where four prosecutors and two public defenders will be selected.

Applicants have to meet specific criteria.

More information is available at the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance website or call (800) 259-5626.

Alternative fuels event slated for May at LSU

The Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo will be held May 16 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

The event is being sponsored by Louisiana Clean Fuels, the Southeast Clean Fuels Partnership and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

There will be vendor exhibits, vehicle displays and a legislative update.

Topics for educational sessions will include propane, natural gas, bio-compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and electric vehicles. Exhibitors and those with car displays should email Lauren Lambert-Tompkins at

From staff and wire reports

C. Wonder opens in Shops at Canal Place

C. Wonder at The Shops at Canal Place has opened at 333 Canal St., New Orleans.

C. Wonder sells women’s clothing, footwear, jewelry and accessories; housewares and home decor; personal electronics; and gift items.

C. Wonder was founded by J. Christopher Burch, CEO of Burch Creative Capital and operates 23 stores. Its website is