Monday, April 22, 2024

EAP unveils 10 new north Louisiana companies to the Dolores George LaVigne Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement 

by BIZ Magazine

BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) celebrated its eighth year of operation and the successful launch of local high-growth startups on Friday with the unveiling of 10 new portfolio companies that have been added to the Dolores George LaVigne Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement. The 10 companies join 55 others on the wall, which displays companies EAP has helped launch or grow in North Louisiana.

BRF and EAP leadership recognized the companies and representatives in an event at BRF’s InterTech 1 facility in Shreveport. The wall has been renamed after Dolores ‘Sissy’ LaVigne in recognition of LaVigne’s major gift to BRF to establish the Dolores George LaVigne Endowment for Entrepreneurship. BRF’s Board also contributed to the fund, which is $2 million and is being used to support EAP operations. Since its inception, EAP has broadened its reach across 21 North Louisiana parishes, has provided services to over 300 startups, and has piloted the Launch Network in Louisiana, with over 80 local resource partners who have joined together to form a supportive network of solutions for entrepreneurs in North Louisiana.

EAP services cover startup needs from forming a business plan to pitching to accredited angel investors. Some EAP startups have the opportunity to receive investment from two of North Louisiana’s first angel funds – the New Louisiana Angel Funds 1 and 2, of which BRF is the managing member.

In eight years, EAP’s team of business analysts, led by EAP Executive Director Dave Smith, has vetted or screened over 1,400 ideas. Of those ideas, 67 companies have been assisted by EAP in receiving funding through angel investors, grants or banks. Those companies have a total annual payroll of $19 million. The total estimated investment from ideas – new capital generated in our region – is $139 million.

The 10 portfolio companies announced at the event have been established in Caddo Parish and completed a capital raise and/or received capital investment from local accredited investors.

“Our ability to persevere and adapt in the face of challenges and remain focused on our goals is in the DNA of the entrepreneurial community. We couldn’t be more excited to be joining EAP’s Dolores George LaVigne Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement and look forward to bringing immersive educational experiences never seen before to NWLA,” said Rik Shorten, CEO and Co-founder, BioflightVR.

“These North Louisiana entrepreneurs and their companies are truly unique to our area and will help advance the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northwest Louisiana,” said Smith. “We are excited to be a part of their journey and applaud their hard work through the trials of the last couple of years.”

Additional announcements at the program included the development of a partnership with Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base. EAP assisted in the launch of the Small Business Consulting Corporation and The Bridge, which are finding, connecting and transitioning the best technologies for our nation’s most critical missions, including those of Global Strike Command.

2022 Dolores George LaVigne Wall of Entrepreneurial Achievement Startups      

BioflightVR

o   Rik Shorten, CEO and Co-founder – BioflightVR creates immersive medical education and training experiences for XR platforms, mobile and web.  

Chasing Aces

o   John Dudley, Founder – Chasing Aces is an interactive entertainment venue focused on advanced technology and great service. 

Durham Transport Academy

o   Latronia Durham, President and Rokisha Durham, CFO – Durham Transport is a family-owned and operated flatbed transportation company specializing in transporting freight by way of logistics, flatbeds and vans. 

FyberX

o   Ben Young, Founder and CEO – FyberX aims to accelerate the adoption of environmentally responsible products by modernizing America’s natural fiber processing infrastructure and reviving industrial fiber hemp for the benefit of both people and planet. 

Haulage

o   Cyrus Morrison, Founder and CXO and Ashlie Gamett, Co-Founder and Executive Director – Haulage is a local transportation solution service that meets the growing customer need in residential cargo and last mile retail to residence solutions. 

Keenly Health

o   Richard Bates, CEO and Trey Jarnigan, CTO – Keenly Health is the leading developer of non-contact monitoring technology for senior living facilities and home health. 

KreweCar

o   Beth Nettles, CEO and Winn Nettles, COO – KreweCar is redefining the rideshare market by offering an elevated experience and is the only rideshare service to provide car seats for family adventures. 

Okhish Mound Farm

o   Brian Bolyer, Founder – Okhish Mound is a domestic Industrial Hemp Seed Source establishing hemp as a fiber crop in rotation throughout the Red River Valley and Mississippi Delta. 

Omicron Technology Solutions

o   Audra Chadwell, VP of operations – Omicron is a software-as-a-service developer and provider serving three industries: transit and rider management, identity and visitor management, and student information software. 

Small Business Consulting Corporation

o   Gerald Goodfellow, CEO and Eric Froehlich, COO – The SBCC’s primary aim is to connect, accelerate and innovate within the Department of Defense by procuring and providing the best capabilities for our nation’s critical missions. 

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