LSU Innovation Wins $600,000 Federal Grant to Help Technology Entrepreneurs
November 15, 2023
BATON ROUGE -- LSU has been awarded a $600,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to boost technology entrepreneurship in the Capital Region. The Baton Rouge Initiative for Development, Growth and Entrepreneurship, or BRIDGE, program will use the EDA funding to support entrepreneurs and their startups through technical support, a mentorship program with local mentors and executives-in-residence based on an analysis of their needs.
“Matching entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals has always been a gap in the Baton Rouge Capital Region marketplace. The BRIDGE team will work with promising entrepreneurs and startups nov on high potential technologies and match them with services and experienced mentors to help innovators progress from the idea-stage to growth phases of their ventures, ultimately leading to additional growth opportunities,” said Jason Boudreaux, BRIDGE program manager and LSU Innovation associate director of entrepreneurial services.
The program will work with approximately thirty new ventures each year. The participants will be able to connect with support based on their needs, such as:
- Technical support services for much-needed, one-time internal company projects
- Mentorship matching to help to train the entrepreneurs and companies as they scale up
- An executive-in-residence program that allows the innovator to focus on their technology without letting other aspects of the startup lag.
Boudreaux said one goal of BRIDGE is to link together existing initiatives at LSU Innovation already in place to help launch, grow, and develop startups. Those resources include the LSU Innovation Park, a business incubator and the Small Business Development Center at LSU, which offers free business consulting services.
More than 220 organizations nationwide applied for grants through the EDA’s Build to Scale program. LSU is one of 60 organizations that received a total of $53 million in funding. The Build to Scale program is designed to accelerate high-quality job growth, create economic opportunity, and support the next generation of industry-leading companies by increasing access to support and capital.
Since 1989, LSU Innovation has assisted entrepreneurs to launch and grow startups through various programs, such as the Small Business Development Center, and has helped companies apply for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. LSU Innovation operates a business incubator with over 35 companies at LSU Innovation Park. In 2021, LSU reorganized LSU Innovation to be more collaborative across multiple units with the goal of growing and developing the support that LSU Innovation provides across the state. Since July 2021, LSU Innovation has become the lead organization for the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center for the state of Louisiana with approximately $4.4 Million in annual funding. LSU Innovation also became the lead for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Hubs program in 2022 in the state of Louisiana with approximately $350,000 of funding annually. LSU Innovation has also supported dozens of companies statewide apply for funding through America’s Seed Fund (the Small Business Innovation and Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs).
LSU Innovation has a long history of successfully implementing EDA programs. In 2016, LSU received a Build to Scale grant to work with the state’s chemical manufacturers to identify their technology needs and match innovators to develop the technology. LSU is also in the final stages of a $1.1 Million grant from the EDA to construct a new road at LSU Innovation Park that will allow for additional frontage at the LSU Innovation Park for new tenants to build and develop on land leased property.
If you are interested in being considered for participation in the BRIDGE program, you should register and Request a Consultation with LSU Small Business Development Center at https://louisianasbdc.org/lsbdc-louisiana-state-university.
If you are interested in serving as an industry expert, a mentor, or one of the executive-in-residents positions in the Capital Region for the BRIDGE program, you can register at https://lsu.formstack.com/forms/lsu_innovation_mentors.
About LSU Innovation & Ecosystem Development
LSU Innovation works with the LSU research community to facilitate the evaluation, protection and licensing of intellectual property created at LSU. LSU Innovation also focuses on establishing, developing, and growing technology-based startup companies. This work maximizes the university's impact on the intellectual, economic and social development of Louisiana and beyond. LSU Innovation helps LSU entrepreneurs and the community through the evaluation of their discoveries and ideas, mechanisms for protecting their innovations, marketing and industry negotiations for intellectual property, licensing and other agreements.