Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship Program accepting applications for May session


The Louisiana Entrepreneurship & Economic Development Center’s session of Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship is starting May 9, and will take place on three consecutive Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It includes three weeks of training, opportunities for mentorships with successful entrepreneurs, one-on-one consulting during and after the program, and connections to community resources.

Eligible applicants should be existing women business owners seeking assistance with growth strategies and women who have a business idea or who want to turn a hobby or side job into a full-time business. Applications must be received by May 5, but walk-ups are welcome on May 9 if space is available.

The session will conclude on May 23. A waiver, for which most participants are eligible, covers $425 of the $450 program registration fee.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 470,000 small businesses in Louisiana. There are nearly 20,000 businesses in Lafayette Parish with fewer than 20 employees, according to ReferenceUSAGov, a business database.

Last year, LEED and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority partnered to continue the Accelerate Northside Program and expand it with offerings to include programs such as the Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.

Dr. Geoffrey Stewart, director of LEED and the Moody Company/BORSF Endowed Chair in Regional Business Development at UL Lafayette, said: “The entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of the Acadiana region continues to drive innovation and business development.”

Stewart added: “Our LEED Center and Moody College of Business teams are delighted to once again partner with LEDA to further position Lafayette as a vibrant, accessible hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Building on the success of its Accelerate Northside Programs, the LEED Center is excited to offer its first Accelerate Women's Entrepreneurship Program. Through this program, we hope to assist the next generation of women in Acadiana walk the path of successful entrepreneurs that have enriched our region over the years. This program is possible through support from the State Legislature, spearheaded by Senator Gerald Boudreaux and Representative Vincent Pierre, and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for enabling those with dreams and ambitions to take control of their career paths while also enriching their financial future.”

Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship will help women entrepreneurs create and/or grow their own businesses. The LEED has hosted 10 Accelerate program cohorts in the last 24 months. Previous programs have focused on the Northside of Lafayette and rural parishes across Acadiana.

“LEDA is happy to continue its support of the LEED Center and the newly launched Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship,” said Mandi D. Mitchell, president and CEO of LEDA.  “Small and minority business development is a key pillar of LEDA’s economic development strategic plan, programming, and services. Through LEDA’s partnership with the LEED Center, we want to expand support for the diverse cross-section of businesses and business owners that contribute to the strength of our community’s economy.”

Learn more or access an online application for Accelerate Women's Entrepreneurship.