Small business owners from across Southeast Texas join at symposium; share tips for successful future

Published 12:40 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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

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

“We’ve always been cooking,” Beaudoin said. “Arthur has been doing this on and off all of his life.”

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It’s a passion, and one Beaudoin said comes from their grandmother, after whom they named Darlene’s.

From left: 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)

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

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

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

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

Helena Gawu, right, speaks with Amanda Ellis, business banker assistant vice president for Hancock Whitney. (Monique Batson/The News)

Also in attendance were a number of vendors, such as Amanda Ellis, business banker assistant vice president for Hancock Whitney, and her associate Amanda Rhoades.

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

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 excited to host this event to help local, small businesses develop their skills and grow their business at an affordable cost,” said Espinal, director of the LSCPA SBDC.

Lunch was sponsored by Motiva Enterprises and Golden Pass LNG.

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