RPC creates working group to include Southern in ecosystem talks

    While the Research Park Corporation says it’s been working to strengthen its relationship with LSU, board members are also voicing a need to similarly connect with Southern University, today moving to create an entrepreneurial working group that includes both universities as well as other entities.

    The move comes nearly two months after local consulting firm Emergent Method—retained a year before by the RPC, LSU and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber—published a study calling for much closer collaboration between LSU’s and the RPC’s business incubators and tech park operations in an effort to create a better entrepreneurial ecosystem in Baton Rouge.

    Since the cost of the study was split by the three entities, comparatively little mention is made of Southern University in the 52-page report, though the university also offers entrepreneurial support services.

    To bridge the gap, board members unanimously agreed to establish a separate working group that would consist of representatives from the RPC, LSU, Southern, Louisiana Economic Development and SCORE, among others.

    “If we’re going to do a true ecosystem study of entrepreneurship in Baton Rouge, then all the parties that offer support for entrepreneurs need to be at the table,” RPC Board Chair Calvin Mills, Jr. told Daily Report after the meeting Thursday.

    The board will likely approach BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp about facilitating meetings, says Mills, adding Knapp previously expressed interest in doing so. Meetings would tentatively begin in the next couple of weeks, and members would be tasked with creating a memorandum of understanding amongst all the entities.

    Meanwhile, RPC Executive Director Genevieve Silverman says the organization is working to build its relationship with LSU by actively working together on several joint ventures, including the BizTech Fellows program, a new BREW event showcasing high-potential local companies, and a shared metrics system.

    The RPC also received a clean audit from LaPorte, CPAs and Business Advisors.


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