Advocacy Attends Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week

By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate

The Office of Advocacy was honored to participate in Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week on November 13 and 14. The eighth annual “BREW” conference featured a whole lot more than coffee. It was a series of amazing events, panels, and keynotes designed to help the entrepreneurs of Louisiana’s capital area enhance and grow their small businesses.

That’s important because, according to Office of Advocacy 2018 research, small businesses play a key role in the Bayou State, employing 917,466 people. Louisiana’s 437,437 small businesses account for 99.5 percent of the state’s companies. This number includes 126,076 minority-owned firms and 3,140 small business exporters.

BREW 2018 attracted about 200 of these small businesses with leaders who were interested in learning more and sharing their thoughts. Many small businesses were startups, which, our research shows, are vital to Louisiana’s economic health. For example, in the third quarter of 2016, 2,321 establishments started up, generating 10,862 new jobs in Louisiana. Startups are counted by our researchers when business establishments hire at least one employee for the first time.

One financial advisor attendee told us about the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rules and made suggestions for changes. Such rules are an attempt by the government to require that retirement advisors act in the best interest of clients.

We also met with an officer from a small yet fast-growing bank who shared his regulatory burdens with us. There is much concern in the banking industry about federal regulation. Overall, however, there seemed to be little concern towards federal regulations at the BREW conference from the owners of small startups. Larger, better established companies seemed much more burdened by government requirements.

The event, held at the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center on the campus of Louisiana State University, offered the Office of Advocacy a unique opportunity to hear federal regulatory concerns from a diverse group of small businesses. If you are organizing a conference similar to BREW in your area, please contact the Office of Advocacy if it would be appropriate for us to be a part of your event and learn about your regulatory concerns.

Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at