[StBernard] Governor Blanco pledges state support to connect hurricane-affected small businesses with a new oppo

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Oct 3 00:10:55 EDT 2007

Editors note: I am a Registered Partner with Microsoft and can help you with your Microsoft licensing needs. Westley

Governor Blanco pledges state support to connect hurricane-affected small businesses with a new opportunity

Landrieu-inspired program gives businesses no-cost Microsoft software

BATON ROUGE - Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today pledged state support to help spread the word about a new business software opportunity to small businesses struggling to rebuild from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Under the program announced by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Louisiana's hurricane-affected small businesses are now eligible for one year of Microsoft software licensing at no cost. The 2005 storms impacted 125,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the Gulf Coast, and in Louisiana alone, more than 18,000 businesses were totally destroyed.

"I want to thank Senator Landrieu for pioneering this program to help our small businesses survive this recovery period," Governor Blanco said. "Even businesses not physically damaged by the storms and levee failures have seen their activity change due to an altered customer base, and have had to adapt as their communities rebuild. At the state level, the Louisiana Economic Development Department and Louisiana Recovery Authority have worked to provide innovative solutions for our mom-and-pop operations, and this is one more way to help them succeed. I will work with LED and the LRA to ensure eligible businesses know about this new opportunity so they can get the help they need."

"Small businesses are a key economic backbone of our recovery," said Sen. Landrieu, who proposed the unprecedented approach in a letter to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates last year. "This landmark partnership will help provide the tools these business owners need to rebuild their businesses stronger than ever despite their limited financial resources."

Under the program launching this week, hurricane-affected businesses can purchase licenses for Microsoft software, including the popular Windows and Office products, through any authorized Microsoft reseller with payments spread over three years. Eligible business owners would then bring the first year's invoice to any Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and Microsoft will pay it on the business's behalf. For a typical small business of 50 employees and 25 computers licensing Microsoft Windows Vista and the Office 2007 suite of programs, the free year will result in savings of about $12,000.

The LSBDC will provide additional free Microsoft software training for businesses participating in the licensing program. The LSBDC offers high quality, no-cost business consulting and low-cost training for small business owners and potential owners through nine centers statewide, and also offers business management training on topics ranging from e-commerce to small business accounting.

Since Hurricane Katrina, LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region has counseled nearly 2,600 small business owners. LSBDC is a partnership program supported by the Small Business Administration, LED, and the host universities for the nine service centers.

To be eligible for the licensing program, businesses must:

* have been in business prior to August 29, 2005, the date of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, or September 24, 2005, the date of Hurricane Rita's landfall, depending on which region the business was located in;
* had been based at the time of the storms in one of 30 federal disaster-designated Louisiana parishes: Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, E. Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Iberville, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermillion, W. Baton Rouge, W. Feliciana, or Washington (businesses may have relocated out of the 30-parish area since the hurricanes);
* have fewer than 200 employees;
* have applied for small business assistance through at least one federal or state government program, though the application need not have been approved; and
* purchase a three-year Microsoft Open Value License for business software (the first year will be paid for by Microsoft with proof of purchase).


The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People

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