Consulting firm Emergent Method expects a mid-April release of its report recommending ways the Research Park Corporation and LSU’s Innovation Park can collaborate more closely to create a stronger local “entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
RPC, LSU and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber retained the local firm to complete the study in June, with RPC and the Innovation Park splitting the $50,000 cost. Nine months later, Emergent Method partner John Snow says he and his colleagues are “working diligently to consider the current state and structure” of Baton Rouge’s entrepreneurial environment when making recommendations.
“The reality is that these are both very complex organizations with distinct programs, services, tenants, facilities, funding streams, staff, and stakeholders,” Snow says. “We know how important it is that we get it right so that our recommendations, once finalized, are positioned for implementation.”
Amid leadership changes and statewide financial problems, it’s been speculated a consolidation—or even a full-scale merger—of the two entities is on the table. Snow says they’re looking at all scenarios, with their final recommendation reflecting what they think is best for the ecosystem.
Meanwhile, the entities await the firm’s findings and have said they’re ready to implement whatever recommendations are given.
“They’ve asked me for pieces of information to plug in, just some details about how we operate,” says Dave Winwood, the nascent executive director of Innovation Park. “It’s a lot of information to gather.”
With the report pending, Innovation Park operations have remained unchanged, says Winwood, adding the park is still in a transitional phase after its longtime director, Charlie D’Agostino, retired before the new year. Likewise, RPC President and CEO Genevieve Silverman says her organization hasn’t changed its operations in the interim, but notes it already works with LSU on multiple programs.
“We look forward to strengthening these relationships with LSU and the other support organizations in the region,” Silverman says.