Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week is taking place this year over a shorter three-day period, but organizers said the concentrated format will allow participation in more events.
BREW, which kicks off Nov. 14, will be held downtown at locations such as the Shaw Center for the Arts, the Arts Council of Baton Rouge and Red Six Media.
Julie Laperouse, BREW coordinator, said the decision was made this year to treat the event as more of a conference. In the past, BREW lasted the entire week, with events being held all over Baton Rouge.
“It was all over the map and that made it hard for people to commit to events,” Laperouse said. “You had to take off a whole day to attend one or two events. We decided to compact it all.”
Holding the event entirely downtown makes it easier for participants, she said. They can go to a program, then head over to a lounge area, catch up on work, charge their smartphone, and go back for more programs.
Another new feature this year is designed to help with business networking. Every day during BREW, participants can sign up for the lunch lottery, which will pair four attendees up for a meal at a downtown restaurant.
“We figure it’s also a way to help downtown businesses,” Laperouse said.
This is the seventh year for BREW. About 400 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which is coordinated by NexusLA.
Louis Freeman Jr., chief executive officer of Innovation Catalyst, a local nonprofit that encourages the formation of new businesses, said the biggest thing that comes out of BREW is it gets more people thinking about starting their own companies.
“It’s all about exposure,” he said. “People come out of curiosity and they meet and hear something that makes them get involved.”
The keynote speaker for the event is Ryan Holiday, author of “Perennial Seller," which has been acclaimed by Inc. magazine as the book that entrepreneurs should read. The book focuses on how to make something that sells over the years, instead of focusing on short-term gains. Holiday will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the Manship Theater in the Shaw Center.
Another high-profile speaker is Jeff Moulton, executive director of the LSU Transformational Technologies & Cyber Research Center. Mouton's talk will be at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Manship Theater about cybersecurity and how any size of business, from start-ups to established firms, need to protect themselves.
BREW will cap off on Nov. 16 with the PitchBR competition from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Manship Theater. Fledgling local companies will face off against each other in a “Shark Tank” type competition.
Registration for limited seating and information are at celebratebrew.com. Registration is $20 for admission to all events.