BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) announces the addition of 10 new startup companies to its Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement, a milestone for portfolio companies that have successfully launched or are in the process of launching in Caddo Parish and North Louisiana.
There are now 44 startups on the wall in BRF’s headquarters, InterTech 1, near downtown Shreveport.
The 2020 class of startups marks EAP’s sixth year in operation and the end of year two of its NorLEAP program, which provides EAP services across 21 parishes, including Caddo, in North Louisiana. The expanded program is funded by BRF and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). EAP was launched in 2014 as a partnership among BRF, the City of Shreveport and the Caddo Parish Commission to provide resources to entrepreneurs, equipping them to take their ideas from concept to the marketplace.
In six years, EAP has vetted over 1,060 ideas and aided in funding 93 of them, helping to bring $103 million in new capital to the area. According to a recent economic study by economist Dr. Loren Scott, in 2018-19 EAP portfolio companies generated in the Shreveport Bossier four-parish metropolitan statistical area (MSA) over $36 million in business sales, over $27.6 million in household earnings, an average of 292 jobs a year for MSA citizens and over $1.2 million in additional tax and fee collections for local governments in the MSA.
Viable companies benefit from EAP’s range of startup services, which include modeling, financial and market analysis and other coaching. BRF-managed New Louisiana Angel Funds 1 and 2 are offered opportunity to invest in some EAP startups, providing local certified angel investors opportunity to fund North Louisiana-based companies and support local entrepreneurs and innovation.
“This year’s companies, ranging from tech to life sciences and the food and hospitality industry, are to be congratulated for not only launching but also for navigating the challenges posed by COVID-19 on individuals and businesses,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This has been a challenging time for small businesses and large corporations alike. We are encouraged by the resiliency of our entrepreneurs and the state and local partners who have stepped up to assist them in a tumultuous time. We congratulate these entrepreneurs and look forward to their success and growth in North Louisiana.”
EAP Executive Director Dave Smith and the EAP team of financial analysts coached companies through small business aid and helped rework business models to continue to meet customer needs in new ways.
“North Louisiana entrepreneurs were truly innovative as they met the challenges head on that this year has brought. I thank the EAP team and our portfolio companies for their perseverance. We celebrate and recognize them for their hard work,” said Smith.
To recognize the new companies, BRF and EAP typically host an unveiling event at InterTech 1, but in-person events have been limited due to COVID-19.
“We won’t be together in person this year, but I want to still take the opportunity to congratulate our new local companies and thank them for their hard work and contribution to the region’s economy, especially in this time of recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” said Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins.
EAP will continue expanding its resources for entrepreneurs in an effort to stimulate growth and help North Louisiana recover in the post-COVID economy.
EAP Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement class of 2020:
Bishop – Custom 3D printed knee braces
Dr. Eric Rippetoe, DDT, Founder and CEO
Streetcar Snoballs – Authentic New Orleans-style snoball food trailer
Erica Gilliam, Founder and CEO
A NorLEAP company
Louisiana Catalyst – Shared workspace and business incubator program serving North Louisiana
Quentin Durr, Co-Founder; Joshua Mitchell, Executive Director/Co-Founder; Richard Royal, Treasurer
A NorLEAP company
Scriptagram – Patient training software for orthodontists and dental providers
Stephen Gillum, CEO; Dr. Chris Cosse, Founder and President
Dealer Dominators – Virtual car buying advisors
Zach Parnell, Co-Founder; Lovick Wren, Co-Founder
2BGreen – Plastic recycling facility
Paul Grillo, CPA, COO; Eddie Lewis, VP of Manufacturing and Operations
Ben’s Body Basics – Natural skincare products
Ben Whalen, Founder and CEO
Two Warriors Meadery – Louisiana’s first mead (honey-wine) producer
Curtis Sims, Co-Founder; Cameron Myers, Co-Founder
A NorLEAP company
STREAM Aquaponics – Hydroponic and aquaculture systems for education institutions
Marci Howard, Founder/CEO; Jenn Tuxen, Director of Education; and Ty Dick, Research and Engineering Specialist
Farmington Research– Cannabis technology company
Cameron Meshell, Co-Founder and President
The Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, an initiative of BRF, was launched in 2014 as a public/private partnership between BRF, the Caddo Parish Commission and the City of Shreveport to diversify the regional economy, create jobs and expand the area’s tax base by providing services to innovative startups that have high growth potential.
EAP analyzes the viability of ideas and products, matches them with informed investors and nurtures them through the critical steps toward market.
EAP provides a suite of services to build sustainable and profitable companies in Northwest Louisiana while stimulating economic development and enhancing the regional innovation entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This document was prepared by BRF using Federal funds under award 08.69.05253 from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the EDA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.