‘Business Report’ publisher: Will we rise to the entrepreneur challenge? 

    Entrepreneurs are risk takers and heroes in my book. This month, Jan. 19-21, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week (BREW), writes Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister in his new opinion piece.  

    I remember the first meeting held in Business Report’s boardroom with just a handful of people and a desire to focus the spotlight on entrepreneurs and their importance to our future, McCollister writes. BREW was envisioned as a way for the Capital Region to provide a connection and resources for startups and growing businesses to thrive—like in other top cities.

    Some of the annual events have been more successful than others but the desire to develop an ecosystem for entrepreneurs remains. We still have a long way to go to accomplish that goal but the need remains if we are going to create and grow jobs for our region.

    I still remember what the mayor of Austin told more than 100 business people traveling with BRAC’s canvas group in 2003. He said the one idea we should take back to Baton Rouge was, “Find out what it takes to attract that 25-year-old future entrepreneur and do it.” (Keep and recruit talent.) I don’t think we took that seriously then and didn’t answer the question—and still haven’t. That should be solved in 2021. Who will take up the cause?

    We have the Stephenson Institute for Entrepreneurship at LSU in the E.J. Ourso College of Business. We have many good incubators, but too many government programs that accomplish little. Have we set the bar high enough for the future given the need in Louisiana or gotten the results? No.

    Also in his column, McCollister offers his condolences to the family and friends of late Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who died from COVID-19 complications 10 days before his swearing-in. 

    Read McCollister’s full column, where he also celebrates the lives of two of Baton Rouge’s trailblazing women, Pearl Faser and Sue Turner, who died this past year and congratulates Mayor Sharon Weston Broome on her re-election. Send comments to Editor@businessreport.com.