Wednesday, April 17, 2024

32 LSU students complete the 7th cohort of the Venture Capital Apprentice Program

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE — The Venture Capital Apprentice Program (“VCAP”) was formed by Nexus Louisiana (NexusLA), Innovation Catalyst and the Red Stick Angel Network in collaboration with the E. J. Ourso College of Business (“LSU”), LSU’s Innovation Park and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

“VCAP was designed to provide participating LSU students with real-world finance and business-related experience, along with networking and employment opportunities,” states Bill Ellison, CEO of Innovation Catalyst and the Red Stick Angels. “It also provides high-growth Louisiana based companies, who require finance, accounting and market research support services, with a team of smart and motivated students.”

In the 7 VCAP cohorts, 202 students have worked on 52 separate projects/deliverables.

The team projects involved completing a wide variety of relevant tasks for their respective companies, including the analysis of a company’s funding needs, equity crowdfunding comparative market analysis, competitor and market analysis, an analysis of industry regulations and private equity firms and a financial proforma. “The variety, scope and complexity of the VCAP projects that are related to VC fundraising, M&A, business planning and strategy provide a unique learning opportunity for our students,” says Dr. Rajesh Narayanan, Chair of the LSU Department of Finance. “They were able to work closely with the management teams of local companies as opposed to working on a theoretical academic exercise. This type of practical, real-world application of the LSU finance curriculum is an incredibly valuable and unique experience for our students.”

In the fall of 2023, 32 students from The LSU Department of Finance’s Venture Capital course taught by Michael Kirby, retired co-founder of private equity firm Stonehenge Capital, participated in the VCAP’s 7thcohort. The students formed eight teams and worked with the following local companies: DAWn AudioBright Enterprises, Care Connection, SudsTriple N Oyster FarmGiant RocketshipMCA Engineering, and NextCoat.

“It was an honor to participate in this year’s VCAP,” said Chris Spalatin, Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s senior manager of small business and entrepreneurship. “Supporting and growing programs such as VCAP is critical to the Capital Region as it not only provides learning opportunities for our young talent, but also sets up our small businesses for economic success – two things we hope to accelerate in our community! We congratulate Innovation Catalyst and LSU on another successful year of the program, and look forward to its continued impact in the future.”

“LSU students receive real world experience by interacting with entrepreneurs, and delivering research and analysis that help Louisiana business owners make key discussions to grow their companies. The program is a win-win for all involved,” says Jason Boudreaux, Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Service at LSU Innovation Park.

According to Jake Hoffpauir, a Senior Finance major, “The Venture Capital Apprenticeship Program (VCAP) provided an invaluable learning experience, offering insights into venture capital and the opportunity to collaborate with founders and peers to drive strategic growth for local Baton Rouge companies.”

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