BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Those looking to be small business owners had an opportunity to learn from those who have already made their journey.

A SU-LSU Entrepreneurship Conference was hosted at the Louisiana State Museum where aspiring and present business owners are looking to take their crafts to the next level.

“I am an aspiring entrepreneur,” said Siedda Hines.

LSU alumna Siedda Hines was soaking up all the information she can at the Southern and LSU business conference. She sees meetings like this as one step closer to her vision.

“My desire is to bring affordable, luxury, affordable houses to Port Allen, Louisiana,” she said.

The conference connected people from all across the Capital Region together, along with students and alumni from both systems.

“Today was number one, to empower them to be entrepreneurs. And then, number two, educate them on all of the resources that we have right here in the capital city so that they can grow, start or expand their business,” said Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator Ted James.

James said untapped resources are game changers for those in the state.

“We have so many free resources here in the community, from counseling to access to capital and getting businesses prepared to do contract work” he explained.

“This was confirmation for me that the resources are there, the tools are there. You have to get up. You have to do it because as all of the panelists say they’re here to help with open arms,” said Hines.

From high schoolers to those seasoned in the profession, James said it’s all about connecting people with opportunities.

“Almost 90% of our businesses identify as small businesses, so the opportunities are endless,” he said.

“We are the future of Baton Rouge so I was super excited that they took the initiative to put this program together,” said Hines.

If you’re a small or local business owner looking for resources, click here to learn about funding opportunities.