Nexus Louisiana, LSU Launch Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs
BATON ROUGE – Nexus Louisiana and Louisiana State University have announced Ignition, a new initiative to help aspiring entrepreneurs evaluate their business idea’s viability through customer discovery and development. During this eight-week entrepreneurial accelerator program, business mentors and industry experts will guide participants through the customer development process step-by-step designed to help them answer a very simple but critical question: “Will anyone buy what I’m selling?”
“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,” said Stephen Loy, Nexus Louisiana Technology Park executive director. “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 rather than find out after they have mortgaged their home.”
Participants will also have access to up to $3,000 in reimbursable funds through a grant at LSU to help cover the cost of their customer discovery efforts. These funds can be used for travel, to attend a conference or other creative ways.
“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,” said Andrew Maas, LSU Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization director, whose office will be leading the technical training and providing startup expertise during the weekly sessions.
Ignition will kick-off with a program orientation on Wednesday, April 28, starting at 6 p.m. and conclude Wednesday, June 30. In addition to the weekly sessions, participants are expected to invest approximately five hours each week shaping their business idea outside of class.
Following the latest physical distancing guidelines, in-person sessions will be held at the Louisiana Technology Park located at 7117 Florida Blvd. The schedule is as follows:
- April 28, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- May 12, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- May 19, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- May 26, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- June 2, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- June 9, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- June 16, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- June 30, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana and Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, Ignition will culminate with a virtual “Demo Day” competition on June 16 that allows the participants to showcase their innovations to the community.
Anyone interested in participating should visit www.nexusla.org/ignition. The cost to attend is $200; however, needs-based scholarships are available upon request. Participation is limited to no more than 15 entrepreneurs, and preference will be given to the candidates who demonstrate the aptitude and attitude to complete the program and launch a scalable, tech-enabled business. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 19.