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UL Lafayette create Accelerate Northside program to help spur economic recovery

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and community business leaders are coordinating the Accelerate Northside program to help spur COVID-19-related economic recovery.

UL Lafayette’s Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center and the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce will lead the 12-week initiative.

The entities are enlisting volunteer businesspersons who will provide consulting and mentoring to owners of small businesses and people interested in starting a business on the north side of Lafayette.

Accelerate Northside is part of an 18-month initiative that the LEED Center will coordinate to help bolster economic development in several regions of Acadiana, including rural areas. The center supports small businesses, entrepreneurs and economic development agencies in Louisiana.

The initiative will be augmented by $300,000 grant awarded to LEED by the U.S. Economic Development Administration that is designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs impacted by pandemic-related business closures.

Accelerate Northside will include workshops that will be held each Saturday from Feb. 20 to March 27 on campus that will cover topics such as business planning, financial resources and support, and marketing. The events will be held at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center, or LITE Center, and the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

Six weeks of consulting and mentoring from working professionals and retired business owners will follow. Faculty members and MBA students from the Moody College of Business Administration will also advise Accelerate Northside participants about management, finances and marketing strategies.

A range of entities will provide counsel and resources for the Accelerate Northside program, including the Acadiana Planning Commission, Acadiana Workforce Solutions, Lafayette Consolidated Government, Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Lafayette Public Library, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, McComb-Veazey Neighborhood Coterie, One Acadiana, Opportunity Machine, and Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation.

Cost to attend Accelerate Northside is $450, although scholarships of up to $425 are available to applicants with financial need. For more information, contact Jonathan Shirley at leedcenter@louisiana.edu

Learn more about registering or volunteering for the Accelerate Northside program.

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