So, you own a small company and need an effective business plan. You’re in luck. It’s time for the fourth annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.
SCORE Baton Rouge, a group of volunteers who have mentored owners of small businesses for nearly four decades, has a workshop to create the perfect business plan, another workshop with simple steps to starting a business and a third offering social media advice to entrepreneurs.
Would it help to know what economic analysts believe Baton Rouge-area businesses will face over the next one to three years? The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is holding a free presentation of its economic forecast.
“BRAC’s 2015 economic outlook will serve as a decision-making tool for the organization, as well as businesses within the nine-parish region,” said Ansley Zehnder, BRAC’s vice president of marketing.
Zehnder said the BRAC report “analyzes data from a variety of sources, including BRAC investor surveys, Loren Scott’s Louisiana Economic Outlook, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Moody’s Analytics and the (U.S.) Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
All the gatherings are among many business events scheduled Monday through Friday for BREW. Several of the events are free. Registration for most can be accomplished online.
Topics are wide-ranging and the centerpiece BREW event is a pitch night in which selected entrepreneurs compete for up to $1 million in financing.
“Traditionally, Pitch Night is the best-attended BREW event,” said Lauren Hatcher, BRAC’s director of marketing operations.
The competition is similar to that shown on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
This year, Ryan “Jume” Jumonville, founder and board chairman of United Networks of America, and UNA CEO J. Brian Oliver announced they could invest as much as $1 million in a Pitch Night company of their choice.
MESH Integrated Marketing and Advertising put up $5,000 for the audience’s favorite Pitch Night business. Chase Bank agreed to pay $500 to the winner of a Quick Pitch Lightning Round.
Separately, a 90-second pitch event is being held for LSU student businesses, and one is sponsored by Junior Achievement as a learning tool for high school students.
BRAC officials will host a series of events as part of the “Big Think.”
Blake Burris, founder of Cleanweb Initiative, “will deliver the keynote address … to discuss how entrepreneurship can make cities more livable and sustainable, primarily through information technology solutions,” said BRAC’s Zehnder.
Burris is a Louisiana native who now lives in the Dallas area. He has grown Cleanweb into a global movement and network of communities, entrepreneurs and startups in more than 20 countries.
BRAC’s Big Think also features remarks and question-and-answer sessions with three successful investors, Zehnder said. They are David Hall, a director at Revolution Ventures; Kendall Almerico, an attorney who is chief executive officer of FundHub.biz and a crowdfunding columnist for both Entrepreneur.com and Crowdfund Insider; and Michael Trafton, founder and chief executive officer of Fire Ant Software and founder of Blue Fish Development Group.
Stephen Moret, Louisiana’s secretary for economic development, and Adam Knapp, BRAC’s president and chief executive officer, are on tap for “Companies to Watch” — an awards event recognizing a top second-stage company from each of the Baton Rouge area’s nine parishes. Those are East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Ascension, Livingston, St. Helena and Pointe Coupee.
Advice throughout BREW will come from various other professionals.
There’s “The Business of Social Innovation,” a free program presented by professionals who have experience in website creation, both traditional and digital marketing strategies, public relations, branding and consulting.
Financial services veteran Chris Reid and Lafayette investment company owner David Cortez will lead a discussion: “What to Do When the Bank Tells You No.”
Gerry O’Brion, who formerly worked for Procter & Gamble, Coors Brewing Co., Quiznos and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, shares information on big businesses in “What Big Brands Know: Simple, Powerful Strategies to Ignite Growth in Your Business.”
Zehnder said a panel of regional entrepreneurs will share their experiences with the audience: Czarina Walker, who at age 19 founded Prairieville-based InfniEDGE, which designs custom Web and mobile applications for clients around the world; New Orleans native Nicole Williamson, owner and founder of the TreadBR fitness center; Matthew Valiollahi, who founded the Southern Marsh clothing company in 2008 as he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at LSU; and Jared Loftus, who has had success in clothing marketing and food-truck operations and serves as chief operating officer of Mastery Prep, a fast-growing Baton Rouge firm that helps high school students at more than 400 schools in several states raise their ACT scores.
“The Positively Powerful Women’s Morning” belongs to three speakers: host Melinda Stallings, author of “The Power of Positive Conflict Resolution — 8 Simple Steps to Increase Productivity, Reduce Negativity and Improve Morale”; Samira Salman, of Houston-based Salman Solutions, which provides business planning and development services; and actress Sandra Dee Robinson, founder of training-and-consulting firm Charisma on Camera.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization Louisiana is hosting a luncheon featuring Louisiana-based entrepreneurs Laurie Aronson, president and CEO of Lipsey’s and Haspel Clothing; Tom Martin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Pod Pack International; and Erik Frank, CEO of Your Nutrition Delivered.
BREW is capped off with three events, including one titled “Breakfast to Business: My Entrepreneurship Journey,” featuring William McGehee, co-founder of Tin Roof Brewing Co. in Baton Rouge; Monique Breaux, principal designer for Lafayette-based Posh Exclusive Interiors; Caryn W. Roland, owner and event manager of St. Francisville-based caterer Heirloom Cuisine; and Kolby Tullier, owner of Body Mechanics LLC in Baton Rouge and personal trainer for several professional athletes.
Creative Louisiana will host Jim Odom, founder and chief strategy officer of Baton Rouge audio electronics company PreSonus.
“Battle Tested Leadership” will be the subject of a Mission Possible Leadership Conference that will feature pancreatic cancer survivor Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards; John C. Maxwell; speaker Tronn Moller; Vistage coach and accountant Meredith Eicher; publicity guru Havilah Malone; and business coach and author Howard White.
Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week schedule
CREATING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN WORKSHOP: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., University of Phoenix Baton Rouge, fourth floor, 2431 South Acadian Thruway; $99 per person, which includes online software and a workbook; register online at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=6hqeltcab&oeidk=a07e9z7xuowce835bd0
BRAC’s ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., City Club, 355 North Blvd. Free, but seating is limited. Register at www.celebratebrew.com/schedule
THE BUSINESS OF SOCIAL INNOVATION: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Solid Ground Innovations, 4242 Government St., Baton Rouge; shows how businesses are leveraging the power of people to advance communities; free; register at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-business-of-social-innovation-tickets-13638682667
WHAT BIG BRANDS KNOW: SIMPLE, POWERFUL STRATEGIES TO IGNITE GROWTH IN YOUR BUSINESS: 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., L’Auberge Casino and Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, 777 L’Auberge Ave.; participants will learn strategies to increase sales and ignite word of mouth for their products and services, along with five critical steps to attracting more of their ideal customers; $50 at the door; register at www.eventbrite.com/e/what-big-brands-know-simple-powerful-strategies-to-ignite-growth-tickets-3146115115
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT PITCH EVENT: 9:30 a.m. to noon, LABI Office, 3113 Valley Creek Drive, Baton Rouge; teaches high school students entrepreneurial skills; free, but donations to support JA programs appreciated; register at hwww.jabatonrouge.com/wordpress1/what-we-do/ja-high-school-special-programs
LSU’S 90-SECOND STUDENT PITCH COMPETITION: 6 p.m., Business Residential Complex, LSU, Nicholson Extension, Classroom 1420, Baton Rouge; students pitch their business ideas to local entrepreneurs and faculty judges. The top three contestants qualify for a chance to win an iPad Mini and other prizes. The event is hosted by LSU’s Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization and the Louisiana Business and Technology Student Incubator, Register at http://business.lsu.edu/Stephenson-Entrepreneurship-Institute/Pages/Annual-LSU-90-Second-Elevator-Pitch-Competition.aspx
SIMPLE STEPS FOR STARTING YOUR BUSINESS: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., East Baton Rouge Main Branch Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge; SCORE reviews the basics of what is necessary to start your own business; free; register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=6hqeltcab&oeidk=a07e9z7svvq941a3d2b
BRAC’S BIG THINK: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Manship Theatre at Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.; showcases innovation and entrepreneurship in the Capital Region through a variety of activities; tickets range from $55 to $105. Register at http://bracbigthink.com
COMPANIES TO WATCH: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Manship Theatre at Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.; one second-stage company from each of the nine parishes within the region will be recognized through the Edward Lowe Foundation Companies. Concludes Big Think.
BREW PITCH NIGHT: 7 p.m. Manship Theatre at Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge; selected start-up companies will have two minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts in an effort to win financing. Register at www.brewpitchnight.com
THE POSITIVELY POWERFUL WOMEN’S MORNING: 8 a.m. to noon, Lod Cook Alumni Center at LSU, 3838 W. Lakeshore Drive, three internationally experienced speakers offer a positive approach; single tickets, $65; table of 10, $550; student ticket, $25; register at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-positively-powerful-womens-morning-tickets-13295323671
ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION LOUISIANA EO24 LUNCHEON: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lipsey’s, 7277 Exchequer Drive; free for EO Louisiana members and $25 for guests; register through www.celebratebrew.com/schedule
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE BANK TELLS YOU NO: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., The Lyceum Ballroom, 124 Third St.; free.
SUCCESSFUL MEDIA FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., East Baton Rouge Main Branch Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.; SCORE provides social media content targeted at beginner-to-comfortable small business marketers who are looking to build their marketing knowledge or reinforce what they already know; free; register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=6hqeltcab&oeidk=a07e9z7m584b03b14dd
LSU’s BREAKFAST TO BUSINESS: MY ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., LSU Business Education Complex, Room 1615, Baton Rouge; features three entrepreneurs’ experiences; register at www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1611690
CREATIVE LOUISIANA: 8:30 a.m., Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Drive, Baton Rouge; features Jim Odom, founder and chief strategy officer of PreSonus; free; register at www.creativelouisiana.com/#new-page
MISSION POSSIBLE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Southern University Global Conference Center, T.T. Allain Hall, Baton Rouge; focuses on “Battle Tested Leadership”; $20 in advance and $25 at the door; register at www.yourmissionispossible.org