Shreveport, LA

Project Name

NorLaunch: Scaling Innovative Enterprises in North Louisiana

Award Amount

Federal Share: $1.3 million
Local Match: $1.3 million

This EDA investment will support BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program’s (EAP) NorLaunch: Scaling Innovative Enterprises in North Louisiana. Created in 2014, EAP provides entrepreneurs with a suite of services and initiatives to grow North Louisiana’s regional innovation ecosystem. EAP’s Launch Network (LN) connects resources and service providers throughout 21 parishes in North Louisiana, including small business development centers, business development and government entities, higher education, libraries, and chambers of commerce. With 68 resource providers, the network has a concentration of providers close to rural and underserved populations. NorLaunch will focus on a primary service area with a total population of 880,876 that is predominantly rural with 90 percent of target parishes designated as Persistent Poverty Counties (PPCs).  EAP will scale its existing experience, services, and Launch Network to increase (1) staffing and capacity to enhance portfolio management and operations to help more entrepreneurs gain access to capital allowing for more small business to launch; (2) outreach to entrepreneurs that prioritizes underserved communities, including PPCs and rural areas, with a goal to educate and increase entrepreneurial knowledge; and (3) leverage existing regional partnerships to drive investment into high-growth technology businesses including those owned by underserved entrepreneurs in the region to build a larger technology-based ecosystem.