McNeese & SEED Center "Business Pitch" Competition - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

McNeese & SEED Center 'Business Pitch' Competition

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Got a business idea? Want $1,000 to help start it up? McNeese and the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center is offering that opportunity for small businesses wanting to get off the ground and running.

The SEED Center is set to open in April or May of this year and will have a business incubator to accommodate 30 to 35 businesses looking to grow.

Right now, they are accepting applications for their "Business Pitch" competition. The lucky winners will receive six months free rent at the SEED Center and access to expert advice.

"We decided to keep this competition very open. We want to attract as many members of the community as possible who have an interest in entrepreneurship. So, there are four divisions. A division for high school, division for college students, community members and a technical sector division," explained Keith Credo, Ph.D., Calcasieu Economic and Development Endowed Professor of Management at McNeese State University. "We are looking for ideas that we feel will work and benefit the five-parish area in terms of jobs and economic development."

"So, we are going to work with them and customize the services of delivery for them and help them nurture their business. Nurture their idea and grow it to a free-standing sustainable business. And the businesses in the incubator program will graduate out within three to four years or so," said Adrian Wallace, executive director of the SEED Center Incubator.

The competition is in association with the SWLA Alliance for Economic Development and is sponsored by the Angels of SWLA. Angels of SWLA is putting up the $1,000 that will be awarded to the four winning teams.

McNeese Marketing seniors Tyson Queen and Matt Lundmark are entering the competition. While they weren't at liberty to discuss the details of their business plan, they said their pitch will focus on streamlining a sector of the shopping industry.

"It will deal with Internet services, your smart phone - that's where the playing field is now and that's where we are going to be," said Lundmark.

"This will be an awesome opportunity to give us a starting point. We can start making some connections and just really soak up all the information they have to give us," said Queen.

While they have yet to get started, Roger Emmons is well on his way to opening his mobile pie bakery. Emmons is already known as "The Pie Guy of Leesville" and knows the hoops you have to jump through.

"Right now with our economy it is so difficult for anybody to get started in a new business. I've been working on this for six to eight months. Every time I would go to the bank for money for the business, the bank would want to see me making money in the business. Meanwhile the Health Department won't let you open unless you have a place to make the pies," explained Emmons. 

Emmons expects to have his mobile pie bakery up and running by May. The rolling concession truck will have a full kitchen for baking and selling his product. He believes there is a market for his pies and with the help of the SEED Center looks to share them with the rest of the state.

"This year we are opening our first mobile pie bakery. Next year we are going to open a second and a third so we can cover more routes around Louisiana," said Emmons.    

The deadline for the Business Pitch competition is March 31. To find out more information and download an application, click here.

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