This summer, aspiring Louisiana entrepreneurs will be able to consult industry experts and business mentors thanks to a partnership between Nexus Louisiana and LSU’s Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization according to a press release from the school.
The program is called Ignition, and it’s been designed as an accelerated entrepreneurial program in which aspiring businessmen and women can assess the practicality, viability, and overall effectiveness of their ideas. The Ignition initiative, which is set to last eight weeks throughout the end of spring, will also offer to its participants a panel of local business leaders and innovators who will guide aspiring entrepreneurs through the building, maintaining, and satisfying of a reliable client base.
In addition to the wealth of knowledge that can only be gained from experiences, Louisiana entrepreneurs and participants will also have reimbursable capital available to them through a grant from Louisiana State University. Candidates will have access to up to $3,000 in reimbursable funds, which they can apply toward what Ignition is calling “customer discovery efforts.” Such efforts may include, but won’t be limited to social media marketing campaigns, registration and attendance costs for a conference or expo, or even admission into product competitions.
The experts offering their two-cents to Ignition participants want to help connect customers with a great idea because often those aspiring inventors and innovators are expertly crafty in the creation of their product or service, but they might lack the business acumen or networking savvy to get their idea in the hands of customers. Thankfully, that’s literally the types of aspiring Louisiana entrepreneurs that Nexus Louisiana had in mind in creating the Ignition program.
Stephen Loy, the Executive Director of Nexus Louisiana Technology Park said of the initiative, “Ignition is ideal for entrepreneurs, dreamers, risk-takers, and anyone who has a business idea seeking to prove or disprove their product or service viability. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs keep from investing significant resources into an idea that might not be viable. We would rather someone decide whether their business idea will work early in the process than find out after they have mortgaged their home.”
The program commences on Wednesday, April 28th with an official program orientation and is set to last until Wednesday, June 30th with participants taking part in weekly innovation sessions. Towards the end of the program, Ignition will host a virtual “Demo Day,” sponsored by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. On the “Demo Day,” participants will be able to properly showcase and present their business ideas to a larger community.
The total Ignition initiative expects its participants to commit to actively shaping their overall business idea, strategy, and viability outside of class, with approximately five hours a week devoted to this effort. The program is limited to fifteen total Ignition participants with preferences being given to those candidates who submit an application and subsequent business proposal that shows the entrepreneurial promise, aptitude, and mindset required to not only complete the program but successfully launch a scalable, technology-enabled business of their own. While the program doesn’t guarantee success, the moment of the culminating launching of the business at the end of June requires a little bit of risk, just like any promising business venture.
All in-person sessions for the program will be held at the Louisiana Technology Park located in the Mid City area of Baton Rouge. Andrew Maas, the director for the LSU Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization, said of the venture, “We are excited to be part of Ignition. We know from our experience that you really need to ask some tough questions before you even start a business. You need customers to be successful and customer discovery is the most logical place to start. We hope to give participants the tools and resources to be successful.”
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