CELEBRATION OF BUSINESS!

Advocate file photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Stacey Simmons, chief executive officer of Omnicademy, pitches her business idea for a social networking site for education to a group of panelist at last year's Baton Rouge Entepreneurship Week Pitch Night. A similar event and other events will be held this year as part of a global week-long celebration of entrepreneurship.
Advocate file photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Stacey Simmons, chief executive officer of Omnicademy, pitches her business idea for a social networking site for education to a group of panelist at last year's Baton Rouge Entepreneurship Week Pitch Night. A similar event and other events will be held this year as part of a global week-long celebration of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Week highlights networking and information

The second annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week, a community-wide celebration of business innovation and job creation that will include everything from lectures and networking to a food truck roundup and a $125,000 competition for the best business pitch, will be held Monday through Friday.

The Baton Rouge observation, which is supported by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and presented by the Louisiana Technology Park and The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, is part of a worldwide celebration that will be observed in 115 countries.

In New Orleans, Entrepreneurship Week is held in March, spearheaded by The Idea Village. Officials with the chamber and economic development authority in Lafayette said entrepreneurial endeavors there are ongoing, with no events specifically tied to the global event.

“We wanted to focus on specific industries that are keys to Baton Rouge’s entrepreneurial success,” chairwoman Stafford Kendall said of BREW’s events. To that end, Wednesday will be set aside for food and drink and feature a lunchtime roundup of Baton Rouge food trucks, followed by a panel discussion featuring Corby Martin, an associate professor at the ingestive behavior laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Thursday will focus on digital media, and there will be discussions featuring representatives from Louisiana’s movie and video game industries.

Thursday and Friday feature discussions about Louisiana’s science, technology, engineering and math industries.

The goal of BREW is to offer an array of events aimed at entrepreneurs and let them pick and choose what they want to attend.

“We wanted to let things happen a little bit organically,” Kendall said. “One of my goals was to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to hang out with each other. You put two entrepreneurs together with a beer, and they’ll end up starting a company.”

There isn’t a unified registration for BREW, but Kendall estimates about 2,000 people attended events last year. This year, she expects about 3,000 to 3,500 will attend, based on what she’s heard from people.

“We’ve got a variety of things drawing people in, such as the SeNSE Pitch Night,” she said. “That’s got some real money going out. When you have $125,000 in prizes, that will definitely get a whole lot of people out.”

In New Orleans, nonprofit Idea Village, whose mission is to support entrepreneurial talent in the New Orleans region, bills the period between July and its entrepreneur week — next year March 16-22 — as “Entrepreneur Season.”

Cameron Adams, director of communications for The Idea Village, said Baton Rouge and New Orleans’ staggered schedule works well for the region by keeping momentum going and opportunities plentiful.

While Lafayette doesn’t have a schedule of multiple events set next week, the Opportunity Machine and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana will host a 1st Gear workshop from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday at the Picard Center at 200 East Devalcourt St. in Lafayette

In “Start Making Innovation Real,” entrepreneurs will learn about LEAN start-up methodology, innovation engineering, and business-to-business and business-to-consumer product development.

Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week events include: