For Immediate Release: November 18, 2016
Contact: Erin Winder
Acadiana Announces a $1.4 Million Business Accelerator Program
La.) – Today, Louisiana Economic
Development Secretary Don Pierson along with representatives from INNOV8
Acadiana, a Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) company, announced a new
Business Accelerator, Accelerate Acadiana, will be established to the eight parish
International, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette), and CFA
were awarded an Economic Adjustment Assistance
Grant from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Economic Development
Administration (EDA) worth $700,000 to fund the operation of two accelerators
within the Accelerate Acadiana program. UL Lafayette, Community
Foundation of Acadiana and the Opportunity Machine (OM) have pledged an
additional $754,000 in program services and office space to support the Accelerate
Acadiana program. Strategic sponsors also include Acadiana Economic Development
Council and JP Morgan Chase who have contributed financial resources and
leadership to make this grant possible.
is an exciting addition to the economic development landscape of the Acadiana
Region,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. "Business incubators can broaden
economies by nurturing new companies, supporting research and development, and
fostering innovation. Recently we have seen dynamic new companies, such as
Waitr in Lake Charles and Lafayette and General Informatics in Baton Rouge,
launch with the help of accelerator programs. Of the more than 1,250 business
incubators in the United States, most are nonprofit organizations focused on
economic development, and they have a proven track record for creating jobs and
diversifying local economies. That is our hope for Accelerate Acadiana as
Acadiana will support the advancement of Acadiana’s growing entrepreneurial
ecosystem over the life of the two-year project. During that time, two 14-week
accelerators will provide technical assistance
to start-up companies and will coordinate various university programs that
support new entrepreneurial development and job growth in Acadiana. Accelerate
Acadiana will help build a sustainable economy with an emphasis on technology
development as a strategic factor in the growth of existing and new industry
clusters in the region. The companies recruited for the two programs
will address new services or products relevant to the industry clusters of
healthcare, oil and gas, technology, aviation and manufacturing.
Acadiana will spotlight our region as a nationally-recognized entrepreneurship
hub, further showcasing Acadiana as a great place for innovative new companies
to launch and thrive,” said INNOV8 Director Pete Prados.
to Accelerate Acadiana’s success is the formation of two $400,000 investment
funds which will provide seed capital to each of the companies chosen for the
accelerator program. It is anticipated that the two funds will provide equity
investment, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, in each of the companies selected
to participate in Accelerate Acadiana.
"By consolidating a proven
accelerator program, networking events, and expert mentorship, Accelerate
Acadiana will provide a key component to south central Louisiana’s growing
entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winrock International is pleased to have the opportunity
to partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Community Foundation
of Acadiana, and the Opportunity Machine to launch the Accelerate Acadiana
program. We look forward to much success,” said Tom Dalton of Winrock
"We are very excited to aid in establishing a
long-termsupport ecosystem for ourindustry clusters,” said OM
Executive Director Zachary Barker. "Diversifying through related businesses
within our existing industries will allow us to be resilient and grow even in
INNOV8 Acadiana, a Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) company, serves the
eight-parish Acadiana region by providing business mentoring, connections,
entrepreneurial meetups, and other events plus access to investors through their
Acadiana Angels initiative. Visit www.innov8acadiana.org to learn more.
International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the
United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase
economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources. Winrock is headquartered
in Little Rock, Ark., and has an office in Arlington, Va., with project offices
worldwide. Visit www.winrock.org to learn more.
The U.S. Economic Development
Administration (EDA) leads the federal economic development agenda by
promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and
success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of
Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order
to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate
long-term sustainable economic growth. To learn more about EDA, visitwww.eda.gov.
Community Foundation of Acadiana’s (CFA) core purpose is to
connect all generous people to the causes they care about. CFA is south
Louisiana’s premier philanthropic organization benefiting our region, with a
particular focus on the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St.
Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin and Vermilion.CFA has realized cumulative
gifts exceeding $176 million and has made cumulative grants of $89 million.
Learn more at www.cfacadiana.org.