Mark your calendars! Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week (BREW) is scheduled for November 11-17 and will feature workshops, networking, and speakers such as NY Times bestselling author Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners and famed restaurateur Jude Tauzin. Tucked into the week’s events is a pitch competition similar in structure to the hit tv show Shark Tank, in which contestants will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and fight for $125,000 in seed investment capital. Entrepreneurs will also gain access to mentorship from a network of seasoned business owners.
The BREW festivities tie in perfectly with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC)’s strategic plan to brand the Baton Rouge area as the “Creative Capital of the South”, a plan to increase the region’s global competitiveness, innovative thinking, and ability to create jobs and retain talent. This idea of re-branding cities and geographic regions has been popping up across the country. Take Providence, RI, for example, which has also adopted the title “Creative Capital”. Regions like the Baton Rouge area and cities like Providence have realized the importance of differentiating themselves from large regional competitors like Houston and Boston. Since it is difficult to compete based purely on size, these regions seek to increase business retention and expansion by attracting entrepreneurs.
So what does this mean for business owners and budding entrepreneurs in Louisiana? Opportunity. An opportunity for support from regional economic development agencies like BRAC, which has laid out objectives in its strategic plan to foster business-university partnerships, cultivate pools of risk capital, and attract highly skilled individuals to live and work in the Baton Rouge area. Rather than locating in historic economic hubs like Houston, entrepreneurs should consider smaller regions like the Baton Rouge area where they may find more personalized mentorship and support. By seizing this opportunity, entrepreneurs can grow our local economy and help turn Louisiana into a destination for innovative business solutions.