The Research Park Corp. board approved a new strategic plan Thursday designed to place the nonprofit at the center of “the innovation ecosystem.”
Research Park Corp. oversees the Louisiana Technology Park, an incubator for tech startups on Florida Boulevard. Under the strategic plan, RPC would work with entrepreneurs, schools, academics and economic development professionals, among others, to drive economic growth. RPC will do so by sharing best practices, partnerships and supporting entrepreneurs.
“This has been a process that I’ve been very, very glad to see take place over the last three months,” said board member Edmund Giering.
The board discussed the idea in interviews with each of the candidates for its chief executive officer slot, said Giering, who headed the search committee. CEO Byron Clayton embraced the idea and made it a top priority.
Part of the strategic plan involves spending $15,000 to customize software that provides entrepreneurs and others with a quick visual overview of RPC’s efforts through “dashboards.” The Research Park board approved the expenditure Thursday.
The bar and pie charts will display three categories of metrics: how many companies RPC has partnered with or assisted, how fast those companies are progressing and the impact of those firms on the state’s economy, Clayton said.
RPC expects to have the dashboards in place by 2016.
Clayton said RPC will use software, which the state Department of Economic Development now uses and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber is planning to use.
The RPC strategy will also involve fundraising, Clayton said. Those efforts will include pursing federal grants and contracts, support from corporations and national foundation grants.
RPC wants to do more but the organization expects to have fewer resources in 2016, Clayton said.
One of the major reasons for that is Research Park’s $1 million contribution this year to Innovation Catalyst, a program that invests in high-potential startup tech businesses in Louisiana, Clayton said. RPC, like many others, took a hit on its investment portfolio.
Board member Eddie Ashworth said the portfolio was down 3.1 percent during the first eight months of the year. Over the same time period, the Standard & Poor 500 was down 2.9 percent.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.