Business innovation center coming to North Lake Charles

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 1:48 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - City of Lake Charles officials have announced a new project to promote business in North Lake Charles - the LA Launch Lake Charles Business Innovation Center.

“it’s a win for District A. It’s a win for the North Lake Charles area,” city councilman Ronnie Harvey Jr. said. “We constantly talk about trying to spurn economic growth and today you’re going to see it first hand and on a busy highway you know several people are going to be able to utilize it.”

The building will be located at 1520 N. Martin Luther King Highway in North Lake Charles and will serve as an economic incubator.

“This particular center is all about economic development for small businesses and undeserved community,” David St. Etienne said. “The minority community in Lake Charles needs a center like this to foster growth from idea all the way to full stage development of a business.”

St. Etienne is the president and CEO of the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc., a non-profit that empowers and encourages economic growth in Louisiana.

The innovation center is the latest effort to build, grow and sustain minority businesses in the area.

“We obviously seen this trend across the nation, where everyone is wanted to be entrepreneur,” Harvey said. “Everyone is wanting to be that business owner, but one of the things that causes businesses to fail is the lack of education, the lack of knowledge of how to do simple things like business plans, financial literacy and things like that. This institution is going to be able to help people from the ground up.”

Not only will it help provide the education to do so, but also provide tools within the building for business owners to use to their advantage.

“There are offices here, one and two-room offices, shared community space, podcast space and a full TV production space for commercials, if you will, along with an event center at the bottom,” St. Etienne said. “So yeah, a full innovation center here in North Lake Charles.”

Leasing spaces will be available for tenants to operate out of the building. The first tenant in the building will be the Southwest Louisiana Credit Union.

The city is hoping to start construction on the building within a year and to open sometime in 2024.