BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Economic Development has launched a Virtual CEO Roundtable pilot program as part of its successful peer-to-peer growth program for Louisiana entrepreneurs. The Virtual CEO Roundtable will connect executives from their workplace if they are not able to attend physical meetings of the CEO Roundtables program. For the 2018-19 year, physical CEO Roundtables are convening in four locations throughout the state: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette.
In addition, LED has launched the Virtual CEO Roundtable pilot program in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation. The program uses Zoom video-conferencing technology to connect 14 company executives from across Louisiana once a month. The program provides eligible company officials – who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the CEO Roundtable experience – with an opportunity to connect with peers elsewhere in the state. Companies participating virtually are located in the Acadiana, Bayou, Capital, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest regions of Louisiana.
CEO Roundtables, begun in New Orleans in 2014 to help second-stage companies grow jobs and revenue, convenes 15 to 18 qualified, key decision-makers from Louisiana-based small businesses. They meet 10 times over the course of a year for peer-to-peer learning, business networking and support. The collaborative, growth-oriented meetings support a trusting environment in which CEOs can safely explore business and personal issues.
“LED is committed to expanding its use of technology to serve the business community,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “The Virtual CEO Roundtable allows eligible companies, particularly those in our rural communities, to remotely connect with like-minded business owners across the state. This program provides the support and resources necessary for these small businesses to accelerate their growth.”
Since inception, 214 companies have completed CEO Roundtables, with graduates representing all eight regions of the state. Those companies have reported the creation of an additional 997 new jobs collectively, with an average annual salary of more than $47,686, plus benefits. As a result, the CEO Roundtables program yields a return on investment of $7.40 for every $1 spent by the State of Louisiana.