Small Business Owners Across Southeast Texas Join Symposium

Posted at 12:26 a.m. on Friday, October 14, 2022

Ledetria Beaudoin was so excited Wednesday night that she couldn’t sleep.

It was only a matter of hours before the new business she owns with her brother Arthur Thomas and his wife Angela hosted their first event.

“We always cooked,” Beaudoin said. “Arthur has done this on and off all his life.”

It’s a passion, and one of them, according to Beaudoin, comes from their grandmother, after whom they named Darlene’s.

With 10 children and five grandchildren, their grandmother needed a lot of help in the kitchen. And soon that legacy will be displayed with his name on a food truck.

From left to right: Pictured are Motiva Enterprises employees Claire Jackson, Social Responsibility and Community Affairs Manager, and RaNysha Roberts, Social Responsibility and Community Affairs Advisor. (Monique Batson/The News)

Darlene was solidified in paperwork last month with help from the Small Business Development Center at Lamar State College Port Arthur. So it seemed almost fitting that their first event was to feed the attendees of the center’s inaugural Small Business Symposium.

The event, held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, included breakout sessions on topics including disaster planning, doing business with government entities , getting Small Business Administration loans, cybersecurity, insurance requirements, and marketing — some also presented in Spanish and Vietnamese.

Keynote speaker Jenn Gregory, President of Downtown Strategies, explained “how consumer shifts have created a new playing field for small businesses and cities.”

Also in attendance were a number of vendors, such as Amanda Ellis, assistant vice president of Hancock Whitney’s merchant banking, and her partner Amanda Rhoades.

Helena Gawu, right, talks to Amanda Ellis, assistant vice president of investment banking for Hancock Whitney. (Monique Batson/The News)

“We have been invited by Dana (Espinal) with the SBDC to come out and promote Hancock Whitey and show all that we offer through our business banking services,” Ellis said. “Anything you can think of for business banking, we deliver.”

The LSCPA SBDC is located on Procter Street and offers small business assistance to aspiring and current small business owners in Port Arthur, Groves, Nederland, Port Neches, Bridge City, Orange and Vidor.

“We are delighted to host this event to help local small businesses develop their skills and grow their business at an affordable cost,” said Espinal, Director of LSCPA SBDC.

The lunch was sponsored by Motiva Enterprises and Golden Pass LNG.

To reach the SBDC LSCPA, call 409-984-6531.