Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge may be Louisiana’s state capital, but it’s gaining notoriety as a diverse focal-point for entrepreneurship. The city has been recognized as a growing ecosystem for Women, Hispanic, and African-American entrepreneurs.

Baton Rouge, LA is the state’s capital as well as its second-largest city. While it is home to well-known companies such as Lamar Advertising and smaller startups alike, Baton Rouge is not particularly renowned as a place for entrepreneurship. And though the city only ranked 143rd on WalletHub’s list of the best large cities to start a business, it made appearances in the top-100 in some of the same website’s other 2018 rankings, the best metro areas for STEM professionals and the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, a 2016 WalletHub list ranked Baton Rouge as the 69th-best city for women entrepreneurs, including a ranking of 20th in the “overall new-business friendliness” category. Finally, Blacktech Week conducted a study in 2017 ranking the best cities for black-owned businesses, with Baton Rouge finishing just outside the top 5 in the nation at number 6.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Baton Rouge’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Baton Rouge Financial Education & Entrepreneurship meetup is a group that hosts regular workshops to educate the community in skills needed to succeed in the business world.

The Christian Business Owners Meetup group holds bimonthly breakfast meetings in which Christian business owners can meet one another and network.

Baton Rouge is home to one chapter of the Women’s Prosperity Network, a group dedicated to supporting women in business and entrepreneurship.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Activate is an annual conference held by the Louisiana Technology Park that aims to further the careers of those in the technology field.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber hosts regular events based around entrepreneurship and small business, including both monthly and annual meetings.

As a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, BREW has been held in Baton Rouge every year since 2010, celebrating and supporting the local startup scene.

A statewide organization based in Baton Rouge, LABI hosts regular events, workshops, meetings and awards ceremonies.

 

Startup Competitions:

Organized by Cox Business along with PitchBR and BREW, Get Started Louisiana is a competition for small businesses and startups that offers $10,000 in cash prizes.

Students at Louisiana State University can compete in the school’s Venture Challenge, a business plan competition with finalists receiving between $1,000 and $15,000.

In PitchBR, entrepreneurs pitch their startups to an audience as well as a panel of potential investors to gain exposure and feedback as well as potentially earn a cash prize.

 

Co-working Spaces:

A co-working space designed specifically for small businesses, Common Point offers both traditional co-working and private office space.

Creative Bloc is a co-working space designed to emphasize, in addition to creativity, collaboration among its members.

In addition to its communal working space, The Parlor is an event venue and offers marketing services for businesses, events, and people.

Located in Baton Rouge’s Water Campus business park on the Mississippi River, WaterWorking offers a variety of membership plans and amenities.

 

Maker spaces:

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library offers 3D printing to all patrons in good standing at the cost of $0.10 per gram of material used.

A group of makers rather than a physical space, makebr is dedicated to expanding and supporting the Baton Rouge maker community and holds regular social outings.

The Protostripes Center at LSU Innovation Park is a space for fabrication, designing, programming and prototyping for Louisiana businesses.

 

Incubators:

The Louisiana SBDC has locations across the state, including in Baton Rouge, that offer consulting services and other resources.

Baton Rouge’s Louisiana Technology Park is a technological development hub that connects tech businesses with a number of resources through its labs and programs.

Louisiana State University’s College of Agriculture hosts the AgCenter Food Incubator, an incubator program specifically for food-related ventures.

The Louisiana State University Innovation Park provides a number of resources and consulting services to businesses and runs an incubator program specifically for students.

 

Accelerators:

Despite being located about an hour away in Lafayette, LA, the Accelerate South healthcare accelerator only requires members to be in the city occasionally.

Just outside of Baton Rouge in Prairieville, LA, the Microbusiness Enterprise Corporation of Ascension organizes the Louisiana Entrepreneur Accelerator Program.

Hosted at the Louisiana Technology Park, Level Up Lab is a program that helps develop and create digital media startups.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Students at Baton Rouge Community College can earn an associate’s degree in business with a concentration in entrepreneurship.

In addition to all the resources offered in the Innovation Park, LSU also offers a fellows program, a minor and an MBA specialization in entrepreneurship.

Southern University and A&M College offers the EDA University Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial development, supporting entrepreneurship at the university and beyond.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Goodwood Capital Management is a group of long short small-mid cap equity managers located in Baton Rouge.

Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Funds is a venture capital firm that works primarily with technology companies originating from the state or state universities, or those relocating to it.

With offices across the country including one in Baton Rouge, Stonehenge Capital offers venture capital, private equity and mezzanine debt to promising companies.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

While The Advocate does not offer a business-specific newsletter for Baton Rouge, it does offer one focusing on the nearby Acadiana region.

In addition to several regular publications, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber offers four investor newsletters with different focuses.

The Baton Rouge Business Report, a magazine covering the area’s business scene, offers an e-mail newsletter known as the Daily Report.

Silicon Bayou News, a small website covering technology and startup news from around the state of Louisiana, offers a weekly newsletter.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Baton Rouge not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Jacksonville, FLHouston, TX, Columbia, SC


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.