The following can be attributed to Dr. Joseph Savoie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette president.
The Louisiana Technology Incubator for Entrepreneurial Success (LA TIES) program is officially “open for business.”
With both a residential and virtual incubation program, LA TIES is designed to accelerate technology entrepreneurship and stimulate new and existing innovative technology enterprises, according to Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, director for LA TIES and the Center for Business and Information Technologies at UL Lafayette.
Currently, the program is accepting applications from small businesses or entrepreneurial ventures that may be interested in participating in the incubator program.
“ The program seeks to develop and leverage people, partnerships, policies and programs for the revitalization of Louisiana,” Kolluru said. “Space in Abdalla Hall has been set-aside for incubator participants to set up shop. Being housed in University Research Park allows for the participants to take advantage of the technology in Abdalla Hall as well as the newly opened Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) facility just across the street.
“ Participants can take advantage of the technology we have here for use in their projects and products in order to advance the economic development of the surrounding community and Louisiana,” he continued. “We want to participate in their growth.”
The program's main purpose is to provide the technology infrastructure, expertise, and support that leverage the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) and LITE to create new technology applications, tools, services and innovative technology companies. LA TIES offers access to computing, supercomputing and visualization software and hardware platforms, university research expertise and access to software application design and development expertise among other things.
To be accepted as an incubator client there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met. The client must be a for-profit business in the advanced information technology field, have a proprietary product or service and be in the early stages of business development.
A business must be well-suited to benefit from the services offered by the incubator program and have a basic business plan and an active management team.
It also should have a potential to generate economic development in Louisiana through a technology or service.
Affiliation with LA TIES is on a yearly basis, with a three-year limit. Companies located on-site will sign a participation agreement and companies off-site will sign a contract on a project-by-project basis. Acceptance into the program is based on space-availability and service capacity.
A counterpart to the incubator program is the Entrepreneurship Mini-Grants Program. The program, designed to provide entrepreneurship mini-grants for prototyping seed-fund grants to further develop intellectual property into tangible and viable technologies, will award up to five $5,000 one-time mini-grants through this National Science Foundation project. The first place winner of the competition will be offered a residential incubation incentive of no-rent for their first year in residence at LA TIES.
Although Kolluru said the mini-grants program is only open to university faculty, staff, students and laddered mentoring team members, he is optimistic about the program being available to the community in the future.
“ We are hoping to over time create a small pot of money that we can disperse to community entrepreneurs for seed funding for them to get commercialization for the creation of a product,” he said.
Eventually, through continued grants from the National Science Foundation and donations from the private sector, Kolluru said the program would expand and allow for more participation in the technological growth that is already taking place in the area through the university's facilities.
For more information on LA TIES's incubator program or its' mini-grant program, contact Kolluru at (337) 482-0600.