Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Center for Business & Information Technologies (CBIT) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette a $600,000 grant to create Louisiana TIES, a Technology Incubator for Entrepreneurial Success.
Louisiana TIES will leverage the state’s approximately $60 million investments in the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) and the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) to incubate new technology businesses and accelerate existing technology businesses into the frontiers of high-performance computing and 3D visualization. Louisiana TIES provides Louisiana businesses the unprecedented opportunity to access the high performance computing, visualization and networking resources of LONI and LITE.
NSF grant funds will be used to provide residential and virtual incubation services for Louisiana technology entrepreneurs, summer mentorship programs for high school students and teachers, statewide workforce development and training, and entrepreneurship mini-grants. NSF will distribute the $600,000 in funding over a two-year period.
“ Louisiana TIES has the elements we look for in a proposal,” said Dr. Sara Nerlove, program director for NSF Partnerships for Innovation. “It’s optimistic, realistic, and designed to serve a population that’s underserved in technology. We expect this project to become a model for other communities. Through this project, NSF is pleased to part of Louisiana’s long-term economic revitalization.”
Louisiana technology entrepreneurs with a viable business plan are encouraged to contact CBIT Director Dr. Ramesh Kolluru (337.482.0611) to apply now for either a virtual or a limited number of residential incubation slots. Residential clients will receive fee-based office space along with technical, research, and administrative support in the new LITE building. Virtual clients will be able to access the incubator’s supercomputing resources from anywhere in the state.
Louisiana TIES’ state-of-the-art technical resources are designed to support data-intensive industries, including oil and gas, engineering, medical, health, manufacturing, and other emerging areas for visualization applications.
“ This incubator reinforces the University’s commitment to economic development,” said Dr. Robert E. Stewart, UL Lafayette Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies. “Its name reflects the University’s ties to our business, government, and academic partners in this effort. We believe that collaboration is key to advancing Louisiana’s technology economy.”
Louisiana TIES’ technology partners and service providers include Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Silicon Graphics (SGI), Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Economic Development, along with the Lafayette Consolidated Government. UL domain experts from computer science, petroleum engineering, geology, manufacturing, communications, business, and, arts and architecture will provide technical assistance to incubator clients.
Louisiana TIES was established to offset declines in the state’s resource-dependent economy. Louisiana ranks 45th in the nation in the States New Economy Index and 49th in the creation of high-tech knowledge econony jobs.
“ Louisiana has lost too many people and firms in search of technology jobs to other states,” Kolluru said. “Our goals with Louisiana TIES are to establish Louisiana as a source of innovative businesses, ideas, and workers. We want to show the world and Louisiana’s own citizens that when it comes to technology innovations, we can discover, invent, and invest in them right here. ‘Invented in Louisiana, Invested in Louisiana’ should become the cornerstone of our economic development strategy. It’s time for us to grow our own technology companies.”