Impacting the Community

<< Return

INNOV8 Acadiana Announces a $1.4 Million Business Accelerator Program - 11/18/2016 -

For Immediate Release: November 18, 2016
Contact: Erin Winder

INNOV8 Acadiana Announces a $1.4 Million Business Accelerator Program

(Lafayette, La.) – Today, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson along with representatives from INNOV8 Acadiana, a Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) company, announced a new Business Accelerator, Accelerate Acadiana, will be established to the eight parish Acadiana region.

Winrock International, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette), and CFA were awarded an Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) worth $700,000 to fund the operation of two accelerators within the Accelerate Acadiana program. UL Lafayette, Community Foundation of Acadiana and the Opportunity Machine (OM) have pledged an additional $754,000 in program services and office space to support the Accelerate Acadiana program. Strategic sponsors also include Acadiana Economic Development Council and JP Morgan Chase who have contributed financial resources and leadership to make this grant possible.

"This is an exciting addition to the economic development landscape of the Acadiana Region,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. "Business incubators can broaden economies by nurturing new companies, supporting research and development, and fostering innovation. Recently we have seen dynamic new companies, such as Waitr in Lake Charles and Lafayette and General Informatics in Baton Rouge, launch with the help of accelerator programs. Of the more than 1,250 business incubators in the United States, most are nonprofit organizations focused on economic development, and they have a proven track record for creating jobs and diversifying local economies. That is our hope for Accelerate Acadiana as well.”

Accelerate Acadiana will support the advancement of Acadiana’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem over the life of the two-year project. During that time, two 14-week accelerators will provide technical assistance to start-up companies and will coordinate various university programs that support new entrepreneurial development and job growth in Acadiana. Accelerate Acadiana will help build a sustainable economy with an emphasis on technology development as a strategic factor in the growth of existing and new industry clusters in the region. The companies recruited for the two programs will address new services or products relevant to the industry clusters of healthcare, oil and gas, technology, aviation and manufacturing.

"Accelerate Acadiana will spotlight our region as a nationally-recognized entrepreneurship hub, further showcasing Acadiana as a great place for innovative new companies to launch and thrive,” said INNOV8 Director Pete Prados.

Critical to Accelerate Acadiana’s success is the formation of two $400,000 investment funds which will provide seed capital to each of the companies chosen for the accelerator program. It is anticipated that the two funds will provide equity investment, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, in each of the companies selected to participate in Accelerate Acadiana.

"By consolidating a proven accelerator program, networking events, and expert mentorship, Accelerate Acadiana will provide a key component to south central Louisiana’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winrock International is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Community Foundation of Acadiana, and the Opportunity Machine to launch the Accelerate Acadiana program. We look forward to much success,” said Tom Dalton of Winrock International.

"We are very excited to aid in establishing a long-termsupport ecosystem for ourindustry clusters,” said OM Executive Director Zachary Barker. "Diversifying through related businesses within our existing industries will allow us to be resilient and grow even in achallenging economy.”


INNOV8 Acadiana, a Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) company, serves the eight-parish Acadiana region by providing business mentoring, connections, entrepreneurial meetups, and other events plus access to investors through their Acadiana Angels initiative. Visit to learn more.

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources. Winrock is headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., and has an office in Arlington, Va., with project offices worldwide. Visit to learn more.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) leads the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth. To learn more about EDA,

Community Foundation of Acadiana’s (CFA) core purpose is to connect all generous people to the causes they care about. CFA is south Louisiana’s premier philanthropic organization benefiting our region, with a particular focus on the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin and Vermilion.CFA has realized cumulative gifts exceeding $176 million and has made cumulative grants of $89 million. Learn more at


© Copyright 2018, Community Foundation of Acadiana. All rights reserved.