Small Business Challenge

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The Small Business Challenge invited applicants to submit business ideas to activate a prime location in Downtown Lafayette with a dynamic new food & beverage, retail, or other creative business concept. The winning contestant will receive a significant capital infusion of up to $100,000 and a lease to a unique downtown property – the historic Sans Souci Building.



The Sans Souci Building, located in Parc Sans Souci in Downtown Lafayette, is a 1,200 sq ft building first constructed in the 1840s. It’s Lafayette’s oldest, most storied commercial building, and over the years has been an inn, a newspaper office, a crafts store, and home to the much-beloved Sans Souci Bookstore (the original namesake for the park).



The initial application requested basic information about the applicant and their business concept, along with the components of a “Lean Canvas” – a one-page business plan template that helps deconstruct a business idea into its key assumptions.

A judges panel, comprised of nine successful local entrepreneurs, selected 20 applicants to proceed to Round 2. In Round 2, the contestants were asked to complete a full business plan via LivePlan. The LSBDC and LEDA led a series of workshops to coach the contestants on building out their business plan and financials. The judges panel will select up to 10 of the contestants to move forward to the final round, a Pitch Competition, with the winner to be announced the week after Mardi Gras.

See the full timeline below.



Business Challenge Information SessionSeptember 13
Lean Canvas" workshop*September 28
Initial application and "Lean Canvas" dueOctober 13
Notification of selections for Round 2 (20 max)October 27
Business development workshops*November 1, 8, 15
If financing needed, apply by this dateDecember 6
Final application due, with full business planJanuary 5
Notifications of selections for Round 3 (10 max)January 19
Workshop (required) on how to pitchJanuary 22 - February 7
Business Challenge Pitch CompetitionFebruary 9
Notification of Business Challenge WinnerWeek of February 19



This challenge is made possible through One Acadiana’s investors, in partnership with Downtown Development Authority, Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority (LPTFA), Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), Opportunity Machine, and the LEED Center at UL Lafayette.

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