New online tool helps connect entrepreneurs

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IdeaCrossing, a free online community that connects entrepreneurs with resources and business opportunities, has been introduced in Baton Rouge.

The service is administered and maintained by JumpStart Inc., of Cleveland, a nationally recognized nonprofit venture development organization. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Louisiana Technology Park have been working with JumpStart for the past few months and recently announced the formation of Step One Ventures, a program that will provide small amounts of capital to fledgling companies.

“This is another step to boost and support entrepreneurial culture in the Baton Rouge region,” said Lauren Hatcher, a BRAC spokeswoman.

The website offers a range of features such as a matching engine that pairs entrepreneurs with potential investors and business mentors, a searchable provider directory and a resource center of entrepreneurial support content.

IdeaCrossing has more than 7,250 registered users and has been introduced regionally in northern Indiana and in Baton Rouge. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, more than 35 people in Baton Rouge registered for the site, Hatcher said.

Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO, said his group, the tech park and SeNSE, a local entrepreneurs organization, are encouraging wide adoption of IdeaCrossing. The web address is http://www.ideacrossing.org/batonrouge.

“Investors can use IdeaCrossing to privately and securely find deal flow specific to their interests while universities, economic development organizations, foundations, professional service providers and other support services can showcase what they offer in one place, ensuring entrepreneurs can find them,” Sean Simone, of SeNSE, said in a statement.