BRF celebrates fourth year, welcomes 10 new startups

BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) celebrated its fourth year this week by adding 10 new startup companies to its Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement.

Companies on the EAP Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement, hosted at Intertech 1 in Shreveport, are those EAP has helped launch and grow locally in Shreveport and Caddo Parish. The wall now showcases 34 local startups that have launched in Caddo Parish.

“This was started four years ago with the goal of advancing entrepreneurs. We vetted as many as possible and helped over 210 companies that needed startup services and tools they had to leave the market to find,” said Dave Smith, EAP executive director.

A birthday ceremony was held Tuesday in conjunction with this year’s unveiling. It’s a tradition that began two years ago with a celebration and unveiling of 13 portfolio companies, featuring representatives from the City of Shreveport and Caddo Commission.

The EAP Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement with tis 2018 Startups.

“I always look forward to this time of year to see all the new entrepreneurs. Success is seen in these entrepreneurs and the launch of their companies. Each plaque represents an investment of faith in Shreveport and Caddo,” said Mayor Ollie Tyler. “We are so excited and blessed to have them in our city. They work hard to make sure we have what our city needs.”

EAP is an economic development initiative and partnership between BRF, the City of Shreveport and the Caddo Parish Commission to launch and grow startups locally to diversify the regional economy and grow the area’s tax base through job creation and new industry.

“(EAP is) a vital economic development partner and it shows we have room for entrepreneurs in Caddo. The key for growth is in startups,” said Doug Dominick, Caddo Parish Commission president.

In four years, EAP has screened 624 companies to discuss business plans, growth potential, and interest in launching in northwest Louisiana.

More than 120 new jobs are associated with EAP startups. The EAP portfolio companies have received more than $64 million in funding and capital investments from north Louisiana and around the United States.

“When someone says ‘There’s no innovation in northwest Louisiana,’ check them on that fact, would you,” said Smith to cheers and applause.

The Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program was created to diversify the regional economy, grow jobs and expand the area’s tax base by providing services to innovative startups that have high-growth potential.

“Northwest Louisiana has the components for startup success. Chiefly these are startup services like those offered by EAP, access to certified angel investors or other funding and a pipeline of ideas. I congratulate the EAP team on their hard work to help these companies to launch and commend the entrepreneurs who were added to the wall,” said John F. George Jr., M.D., president and CEO of BRF.

EAP analyzes the viability of ideas and products, matches them with informed investors and nurtures them through the critical steps toward market. Smith and the EAP team of financial analysts provide startup services, which include market analysis, development of business plans, financial analysis and modeling to build sustainable and profitable companies in northwest Louisiana while stimulating economic development and enhancing the regional innovation entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Dr. George, who was cited as originating the EAP, gave credit for the business community for “dreaming up” the entrepreneurial generator.

“This had been discussed for 30 years. My claim to fame is I actualized it,” he said. “It’s important we bring people together. We all know the problems of our city and we need to get more brain power working to solving these problems, and the EAP is a great example of that.”

EAP Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement 2018 Startups (courtesy photo)

The EAP Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement 2018 Startups are:

  1. OleoLive – A biotechnology company producing olive oil-extracted Oleocanthal for research and consumer products to address inflammation and disease. CEO: Kiley Grant
  2. Tomakk – Tempered glass solutions for residential and commercial glass installers. Co-Founders: Clay Hargett and Scott Hoffman
  3. Asteri Networks – Web-based entertainment media network company. CEO: Steve Gray
  4. Louisiana New Product Development Team – Product design, development, prototyping and marketing solutions company. Co-Founders: Konstantin Dolgan, Ph.D., and Onega Ulanova
  5. GeoCareer – Oilfield training products to emulate human trial and error learning process within a safe, simulated environment. Co-Founders: Gerry Raabe and Dr. Dale Newton
  6. SaniKleen – Chemical company with a residual self-sanitizer hospital-grade disinfectant to reduce deadly secondary infections in healthcare and public settings. Founder and CEO: Michael McCullough
  7. SpheroFill – Innovative medical products and drug delivery platforms with an initial focus in a novel injectable tissue filler for use in the larynx. CEO: Dr. Paul Weinberger
  8. Winifred’s Dancewear – Locally owned, uniquely styled dancewear to help dancers stand out among competitors. Owner: Kenya W. Ross
  9. Golden Ticket Studios – “Binge-worthy” film content production studio with a community-centric business model. President: Glen Grefe
  10. Hope Pharmacy – Northwest Louisiana’s sole medical marijuana pharmacy. Co-Owners: Jennifer Boudreaux, Doug Boudreaux and Chris Whittington