The sixth annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of innovation and people who take business risks, kicks off Friday.
While the event may be centered around entrepreneurship, it’s aimed at more than just the business community, said Byron Clayton, president and chief executive officer of the Research Park Corp. NexusLA, a subsidiary of the RPC, is one of the sponsors of BREW.
“This celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation, but we’ve got more events and more types of people involved than ever before,” Clayton said. “For an entrepreneur, a business person or an investor, they absolutely want to be there for business opportunities and solutions. For other people, this is a chance to see some of the coolest, most innovative ideas they will find anywhere that are generated in Baton Rouge.”
The Innovation and Startup Showcase, which will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center on the LSU campus, will spotlight some of the unique local businesses that are offering new services.
One of those businesses is Clear Blue Design, which uses software to bring consistency to business innovation and connect communities. The LSU Agricultural Center Food Incubator will also participate in the event, along with local video game, cyber security and investor groups. The RPC will be on hand to demonstrate an online portal that is a resource to help fledgling businesses find all of the programs that are set up to help them.
“The idea is that there are a lot of resources here, but you’ve got to know where to find them,” Clayton said. “This is an easy way to find those resources.”
BREW kicks off on Friday with Startup Weekend, where entrepreneurs start and launch a business over a 54-hour period. The event will be held at the Teach For America Building at 501 Government St. “It’s fast-paced and you’ll be amazed at what people can do in that short amount of time,” Clayton said.
The centerpiece of the event is Pitch Night, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Pelican House. Participants will promote their business to a panel of judges. The winner will go to a private due-diligence phase, where they will have a chance to get an investment of up to $250,000 from the Catalyst Fund, a local group that helps startups.
Clayton said a number of pitch competitions have been held around the city this fall to build up to the BREW event. “This is going to be the best of the best,” he said.
MasteryPrep, which helps high schools prepare for the ACT test, won Pitch Night in 2014. Craig Gehring, who founded the company, said participating in BREW and winning the competition has paid off for MasteryPrep.
“We were able to get local investment and able to get people to invest in our products to grow our business outside of Louisiana,” he said. “There are a lot of companies with great solutions in Baton Rouge and in Louisiana that need help connecting to capital and BREW helps them do that.”
BREW also has helped to create a community of entrepreneurs. “It’s good to connect with like-minded individuals,” Gehring said. “Part of being an entrepreneur is that you see things differently. This introduces you to similar people who also look at things differently.”
For a full list of events, visit celebratebrew.com/schedule/. Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week events include:
BIG THINK: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 15, Cook Hotel & Conference Center, 3848 W. Lakeshore Drive. It is a lunch program with Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab, an early-stage business accelerator. Cherry will discuss his goal of developing companies and business leaders who embrace capitalism as a catalyst for social good. Admission is $35 for Baton Rouge Area Chamber members and $45 for nonmembers. To register, go to bracbigthink.com/
SHE GEAUXS: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 16, Cook Hotel & Conference Center, 3848 W. Lakeshore Drive. A day-long women’s leadership conference, aimed at creating a community of support and encouragement. The event is sponsored by the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education and Dima Ghawi, a local consultant. Admission is $50 for LSU students, $100 for LSU faculty and staff and $125 for the general public. To register, go to www.lsu.edu/chse/professional-education/upcoming-events.php.
1 MILLION CUPS: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Nov. 16, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. A free networking event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startup companies to peers.
FAILURE FEST: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 16, Magnolia Theatre at Baton Rouge Community College, 201 Community College Drive. A free, open discussion with local entrepreneurs who talk about what they learned from their failures and what resulted when they overcame those events. Registration is required.
MILLENNIALS AND THE ECONOMY: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 16, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, 616 Harding Blvd. A seminar hosted by the LSBDC at Southern University that looks at how millennials earn, spend and save money, designed to help entrepreneurs tap into the generation.
LBTC CELEBRATION OF INNOVATION: 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 16, L’Auberge Baton Rouge, 777 L’Auberge Ave. The annual event honoring LSU’s Louisiana Business and Technology Center and the companies who have been fostered by the incubator.
BRAC ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Nov. 17, Ruffino’s at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St. The annual forecast for the Baton Rouge area economy, based on a survey of local businesses. The event is free.
TEDxLSU at BREW: 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 18, Tin Roof Brewing, 1624 Wyoming St. An afternoon of entrepreneurial learning and networking hosted by Entrepreneurs’ Organization Louisiana. The free event will feature a panel discussion on how to turn a profit in home-based businesses, conversations with local entrepreneurs, a keynote address from Winnie Hart, author of “Stand Out — Mastering the 8 Fundamentals of Standing Out in Business” and a happy hour at the brewery.