Turning tech tides in the Silicon Bayou 

Silicon Bayou
Padma Vatsavai

A woman-led tech business from Baton Rouge was named among the 2019 Inc. 5000: The Most Successful Companies in America. Vinformatix, headed by Padma Vatsavai, was one of just 37 companies to make the list.

Baton Rouge-based Envoc has been nationally recognized for its work to create the LA Wallet app, IBM has hired hundreds in the past few years, and Tech Advocate Group founder Natalie Noel says she has heard of a couple of new startups getting up and running in the area. 

In short, the tech industry in Louisiana and Baton Rouge is growing and women are part of the cutting edge.  

“The economy of Louisiana is definitely responsible for bringing on more tech jobs,” says Carolina Munguia, director of project management at Envoc. “We are seeing this when those companies make Louisiana their home.” 

Another side to that industry growth, Noel says, is that more companies are recognizing the need to implement new platforms for their businesses, which provides room for local technology firms to grow to meet clients needs. Noel adds that the area’s technology community can be broken out into many different sectors, from the sales and marketing platforms she works with to IT firms.  

“We have a solid robust technology community and it’s really expanded for the last 10 years since I’ve been in this space,” Noel says.

In an interview with Business Report in 2017, Vatsavai and her team have successfully grown the business organically by producing high-quality results that generate word-of-mouth referrals. “Any time we are able to sit at a table with a potential client, we’ve always been able to close a deal,” Vatsavai said at the time, noting the importance of understanding her client’s pain points and crafting a custom software solution to their problems. “Technology can be applied to any industry,” she explained. “So when you have a robust team that does whatever it takes, the results can be life-changing for the client.”

Women are definitely still the minority among startups and technology companies, Noel says, but many more are getting into the field, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much. 

On the side of adding diversity to the industry, Munguia says there are more women-focused scholarships and programs at universities. There are more mentorship opportunities for women and girls, too, she says, and that’s even starting in Baton Rouge area schools. When she was in school there just wasn’t that type of thing, she adds. 

STEMup BR, for example, mentors 800 Baton Rouge students each year, according to its website.

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