Having the drive to strengthen a community through entrepreneurship is a great start. But creating a platform that nurtures inventors, prototypes and startups is pure progress.
The Biomedical Research Foundation highlighted many of its successful initiatives at its annual meeting on Thursday, October 8, including the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program. The EAP stands as an important piece of the puzzle for a better community, helping startup companies build plans, pitch to investors and launch.
It was originally created to help entrepreneurs from the LSU Health Sciences Center take their healthcare ideas and prototypes to the market. Now it’s expanded to aiding innovative thinkers from across the spectrum.
Building a startup community in Shreveport – It’s a Possible Reality.
Austin, Texas, stands as an awesome example of what a successful accelerator can really do. Dr. Kay Hammer and her startup are living proof that accelerators really work.
Hammer was the IC² Institute’s first entrepreneur to attend the program. Through her story to the 250 guests at the BRF annual meeting, the Shreveport native described her first moment of entry into the IC² Institute as going from black and white to technicolor.
Everyone was on your side. Everyone wanted you to succeed. Your interests were their interests. After working for tough bosses in environments where people didn’t always give due credit, discrimination ran rampant and employees had to fight for what they wanted, the accelerator was a breath of fresh air.
Hammer commended the EAP for its work. She noted her great experience in an accelerator program and the high degree of assistance it gives startups that have a passion to succeed.
Money Talks, But Innovative Products Change the World
Modeling itself after the IC² Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, the EAP has vetted 172 ideas for the program, of which about 75 have qualified to advance to the next stage.
In a year’s time, the EAP has secured funding from the Caddo Parish Commission and the City of Shreveport for the second year of operations. Also, seven of the companies in the accelerator were granted a total of more than $1 million from the New Louisiana Angel Fund 1.
The companies endowed by the angel fund are small, but when it comes to their potential, it’s nothing short of immensity. These innovative startups are shaping the future for medicine, technology, business and creativity.
Their work bears the possibility to change not only the population, economy and culture of our region but also the way businesses and governments operate around the globe.
Organizations like the EAP help entrepreneurs toss the rock. The startups take it from the launch, determining how far the ripples go after the stone hits the water.
It Takes an Accelerator…and a Village
The program not only diversifies the economy. It improves the entire community. But for the accelerator to fully flourish, the area must collectively lend its support. Hammer said it takes an accepting community, a diverse community and an educated workforce to further existing startups and stimulate prosperity for new ones.
She urged that you have to give the children in the community a chance to be an an asset, not a liability. A community has to believe that its residents can contribute to its workforce. Sometimes it’s not about whether someone can do it. It’s about how he or she is going to do it.
Many have great ideas that would positively affect the region, the country, the world. The EAP gives them the opportunity to bring those ideas into existence. But it takes the acceptance and support of everyone to allow startups to shape the success of a region.