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|Contact: Christine Payton||Sept. 25, 2008|
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|SMALL BUSINESS START-UPS CAN FIND HELP WITH ENTERPRISE CENTER OF LOUISIANA
| Entrepreneurs and individuals looking to start or grow a business have a friend at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The Enterprise Center of Louisiana is a business incubator that’s been in operation for 15 years, helping the Acadiana business community to grow. It’s graduated many businesses that have gone on to prosper throughout Acadiana and Louisiana and got its start as a partnership between UL Lafayette, SLEMCO and the City of Carencro.
“ We have a mixed-use incubator here at ECOL,” said Roy Holleman, executive director. The Center is located in Carencro on I-49 near I-10. “We have companies that are high-tech and others that focus more on manufacturing.”
Currently, the incubator is at 100 percent capacity with business ranging from an electric-repair company to a personal publishing business. Some have only one employee while others have upwards of 20 employees. Just in the city of Carencro, four recent companies that graduated from ECOL located there and employ between them 45 people.
“ Our tenants are usually individuals who’ve been working a business part-time from their homes,” said Holleman. “They come to the incubator when they are ready to take the next step of growing their business.”
Holleman said the incubator works in partnership with several agencies like the Manufacturing Extension of Partnership of Louisiana (MEPOL), the Louisiana Small Business Development Center and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA).
UL Lafayette’s LSBDC for instance provides services to ECOL clients throughout all stages of their growth and development.
These services include consulting issues like business plan development, human resources, legal and marketing help, regulatory compliance, strategic planning and market research among other services.
“ The relationship with the LSBDC at UL Lafayette can last years and involve several business projects,” said Mark Galyean, LSBDC director. “As for the value in our services, we are the only nationally-accredited, university-based business consulting and training organization in the state. And, our consulting is free.”
LSBDC also holds training sessions at ECOL, a convenience for ECOL clients.
“ These relationships we have are our core,” said Holleman. “They allow us to better serve our clients which in turn helps them succeed when they leave ECOL.”
One recently graduated business from the Center is Durel Mail & Imaging Technologies of Lafayette. The facility is the first of its kind in Acadiana. It offers high quality, rapid turnaround, short run digital color printing and automated mailing services.
“ With most any startup business, one of the biggest expenses has to be rent/lease expenses,” said John Durel. “By working with ECOL’s clients on this expense and others, small start up businesses like mine are able to ‘live within our means’ and build up business.
“ This along with the advice, exposure to high level business leaders via the board of directors and the incidentals provided, ECOL’s clients get a leg up,” he continued. “In my experience this allowed me to not only build a successful business but to invest in Lafayette’s commercial real estate market, something that I would not have been able to do without ECOL’s helping hand.”
ECOL is a 30,000 square foot facility, which provides flexible occupancy agreement packages for individual companies to set up their businesses in the way that best fits their needs.
Office spaces with either a 214 square foot or 275 square foot option includes carpeted floors, lighting and fire and intruder alarms. Production suites offer 1,440 square feet or 2,880 square feet with concrete floors in the production area and carpeting in office areas. The spaces also include nine-foot double entry doors, a private employee entrance and individual heating and air conditioning.
Both office and production suites tenants have:
• receptionist service
• use of three conference rooms
• use of copy machine and fax machine
• use of a forklift
• association with other entrepreneurs
• assistance with business planning, accounting, marketing, quality control, product development, training, management and technology transfer
• tie-in with University assistance and
• assistance with locating business financing including an in-house loan program.
ECOL also houses a library of business start-up guides available from Entrepreneur Media Inc. It is the only free, comprehensive libraries of its kind in Acadiana. The more than 40-book library includes guides on starting an automobile detailing business to wedding consultant and everything in between. It’s a joint project with the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority and ECOL.
The library is a free resource to anyone interested in starting up a small business.
“ Small business is really the backbone of job growth,” said Holleman. “They will hire locally and buy locally.”
For more information on ECOL, contact the center at 337 896-9115 or visit www.ecol.org.
About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition. The campus is located in the heart of Acadiana – a rich cultural area known for its excellent food, music, festivals and quality of life.
Document last revised Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:31 AM
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