Thursday, May 30, 2024

BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program Receives $2 Million Grant to Boost North Louisiana Small Businesses

by BIZ Magazine

Shreveport, Louisiana – In a move to bolster technology entrepreneurship in North Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded two grants totaling $2 million to BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP). The grants aim to enhance inclusive access to entrepreneurial assistance and startup capital, fostering innovation and economic growth in the region.

The grants will enable the EAP to offer vital startup services to entrepreneurs and small businesses across North Louisiana. These services include financial modeling, mentoring, and assistance with funding strategies and pitches, essential elements for the success of budding enterprises.

Established in 2014, the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) has been pivotal in fostering startup culture and innovation in the region. With previous support from an EDA grant, EAP has expanded its reach to serve 21 parishes in North Louisiana. Additionally, it introduced the Launch Network, an online platform connecting small businesses and startups with over 80 organizations. The model has since been adopted statewide via Louisiana Economic Development.

Dave Smith, Executive Director of EAP, emphasized the Launch Network’s significance, stating, “It’s the quickest and most efficient way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to seek help launching or growing their business in this region.”

The Build to Scale grants from EDA will enable EAP to establish two avenues to further support small businesses and entrepreneurs: the Venture Challenge (NorLaunch) and the Capital Challenge (NorCap). These initiatives will facilitate the scaling of innovative ideas and increase investment activities in North Louisiana, thereby enhancing opportunities for business growth and job creation.

John F. George Jr., President and CEO of BRF, expressed his enthusiasm for the grants, emphasizing their role in advancing economic diversification and job creation in North Louisiana.

With BRF being one of 60 organizations nationwide to receive a Build to Scale grant in the latest cohort, the initiative underscores a concerted effort to promote entrepreneurship and economic resilience across the country.

To access assistance for starting or expanding businesses in North Louisiana, interested parties can visit the launchnetworkla.com website.

About BRF (BRFLA.org)

BRF is a Shreveport-based innovation hub and economic development organization committed to establishing North Louisiana as a preferred destination for high-growth initiatives. Its mission includes diversifying the region’s economy through initiatives that foster new business creation and workforce development.

About EAP (EAPLA.com)

EAP, a division of BRF, focuses on diversifying the regional economy and creating jobs by providing services to innovative startups with high-growth potential. The program has played a pivotal role in job creation and economic development, with its portfolio companies boasting an annual payroll of $22.8 million.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) leads the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and fostering regional collaboration. Through initiatives like the Build to Scale program, EDA supports entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth across the nation.

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