When the time comes to turn a great idea into a business, many entrepreneurs realize that they do not know the first steps towards actually starting and running a business. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to lack formal instruction in business, finance, or the legal framework required for businesses. Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) and Launch Network recognized this information gap, and with support from Capital One, EAP and Launch Network will be hosting the Spring into Summer Series, in the hopes of providing not only valuable information for entrepreneurs, but also introducing entrepreneurs to the amazing resources available in North Louisiana.
BRF and EAP know that educating others about entrepreneurship at a young age is critical in the development of future business owners, and Junior Achievement of North Louisiana has been instrumental in that task. Junior Achievement has found success in providing lessons in financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship at the elementary, middle, and high school level. It might be hard to imagine what entrepreneurial instruction looks like at the elementary school level, but the Junior Achievement Hot Chocolate Challenge is a prime example. This program provides elementary school students with the opportunity to learn how to sell their hot chocolate, building a solid foundation for entrepreneurial knowledge.
Louisiana colleges have also recognized the increasing need for this type of instruction, as evidenced by the growing number of entrepreneurship-related degrees, concentrations, and programs now being offered throughout the colleges in our state. LSUS offers an Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise concentration, LSUA offers an Entrepreneurship concentration, SUSLA has a Business and Entrepreneur Center, Louisiana Tech has the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, LSU offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Entrepreneurship, ULM recently created the Entrepreneurship Pelican Cup, and BPCC has a Certificate of Technical Studies in Business Entrepreneurship.
The Spring into Summer Series provides an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to have access to the type of instruction that is critical to succeed as a business owner, and historically has not been available outside of the classroom. Additionally, this series will showcase resource partner locations, with a first-hand look at the amazing opportunities our local resource partners can provide to entrepreneurs.
This four-part series will begin in May with Business Finance, which will provide attendees with the basics of business finance, an introduction to business credit, and what they need to know about raising capital. In June, the How to Start a Food-Related Business session will offer tips on menu development and pricing, along with marketing and branding. Attendees can also learn about certifications and regulations for food-related businesses. Entrepreneurs who are looking for next steps for an idea they already have will want to attend July’s Maturing Your Business Idea, as this session will focus on both ideation and learning the basics of a lean canvas business model. The series will wrap up in August with the Prototype and Protect Your Idea session, providing information on intellectual property protection, engineering and prototyping, and patents workshops. Each session will be held at a local resource partner’s building. Cohab will host the sessions in May and July, Milam Street Kitchen Incubator and Community Kitchen (MS KICK) will host the June session, and LSUS will host the final session in August.
Support for this program comes from the Capital One Impact Initiative, an initial $200 million, five-year commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity. As one of the largest companies in America, Capital One is using its scale and resources to support diverse businesses to strengthen local economies and build thriving communities.
EAP and Launch Network are bringing the program to life, and ultimately want entrepreneurs to understand that these amazing resources are available right here in Shreveport-Bossier. Together with Capital One, EAP and Launch Network will fill the gap in entrepreneurial education in North Louisiana. For EAP Senior Financial Analyst Julie Gilley, the Spring into Summer series is about “raising the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Dave Smith, Executive Director of EAP