An important element of the soon-to-open SEED Center is the business incubator, which will be home to up to 35 people who want to start up a small business of their own.
The business incubator will offer office spaces for potential and current business owners to lease.
To be housed in the new SEED Center, the business incubator will be just one part of multiple entities coming together to promote the importance of an entrepreneurial spirit in Southwest Louisiana.
Business incubators are a worldwide concept, but the one at the SEED Center will be the first of its kind in Southwest Louisiana, said Adrian Wallace, SEED Center program director.
The mixed-use incubator will be available for any type of business from technology to food. It will be open for pre-startups, startups, and home-based businesses that want to open and flesh out their ideas. There will also be programs offered for clients’ businesses. New programs will be added according to needs and available resources, Wallace said.
Expectations for the incubator are that it be used “as the economic catalyst to facilitate the development and sustainability of early stage ventures and existing businesses,” its mission statement reads.
“If you walk in with a business idea or you’ve been running a business for a while, we will have all the resources that are needed to service you,” Wallace said.
The premise is that a business will move in for three to five years and once sustainable will move out, he said. It will be a year-to-year lease. Wallace prefers to call them “clients” rather than “tenants” because they will not just occupy a space but will work with the services provided to them to cultivate their business.
He hopes to help the clients with management skills, technical training and developing business relationships.
The SEED Center, deemed the entrepreneurial hub, will encompass a number of entities, including the McNeese State University Small Business Development Center, Service Corps of Retired Executives, Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
The expected move-in date will be sometime in April. The complex is owned by the city, parish, the university and the alliance.
No business has been formally accepted yet, Wallace said, and he expects it to take about three years to reach full capacity. The application period is open and interested applicants should contact Wallace at 337-433-3632, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.