VCAP’S Third cohort has concluded
For Immediate Release
January 25, 2022
BATON ROUGE — Thirty-eight students from LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business completed the third cohort of the Venture Capital Apprentice Program (VCAP), a project formed by Nexus Louisiana, Innovation Catalyst, and the Red Stick Angel Network in collaboration with LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business. Also participating in this cohort were business consultants from LSU’s Innovation Park.
In the fall 2021 school semester, the third cohort of VCAP included students from the LSU Department of Finance’s venture capital course taught by Mike Kirby, retired co-founder of Stonehenge Capital, and from the LSU Flores MBA Program’s entrepreneurial consulting course, taught by Steven Perret, an adjunct faculty member with the LSU Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems. The students formed 12 teams and worked with the following local companies: Research Defender, Bioceptive, Basic Fitness, Smalls Sliders, Iconic Moments, chckup, Cremmjoy, Workaru, Pedego, Agilify, La. Revival, and Thumb.
“VCAP was designed to provide participating LSU students with real-world finance and business-related experience, along with networking and employment opportunities, “said Bill Ellison, CEO of Innovation Catalyst and the Red Stick Angels. “It also provides high-growth Louisiana-based companies, who require finance, accounting, and market research support services, with a team of smart and motivated students.”
Throughout VCAP, student teams participated in various projects to assist their partner companies in preparing a competitor and market research analysis, a fundraising pitch deck, a multi-year financial model, and a strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. Students also identified public relations opportunities and crafted press releases and created the structure and financial model to fund women, minorities, and veterans.
“The students worked closely with the management teams of local companies as opposed to working on a theoretical academic exercise. Providing this type of practical real-world application of the LSU Department of Finance curriculum is an incredibly valuable and unique opportunity for our students,” said Rajesh Narayanan, LSU Department of Finance Chair.
VCAP is one of the opportunities LSU offers students to prepare them for life after graduation and successful careers.
“There is no better way to understand business challenges and opportunities than to consult directly with CEOs of startup companies that are living it every day,” Perret said. “The VCAP project allowed select MBA students to apply their knowledge of operations, accounting, marketing, and personal experience to deliver an entrepreneurial consulting project based on the company’s current needs. The learning that occurred during this project is invaluable to both the student and the CEO.”
Local companies also gain professional business advice and fresh insight from the LSU finance and MBA students, and from faculty.
“The VCAP project was a great help in vetting our idea and developing a plan for a long-term initiative that we could not devote additional resources to at the time,” said Joe Lewis, president & CEO of Smalls Sliders. “The LSU business students and their mentors were a great help in assisting us to define the scope of the project and then doing the work to put it together with minimal time from us. We now have the direction outlined to move forward with the initiative when we are ready.”
Connecting LSU students and faculty with the local business community through VCAP continues to be a success.
“I really enjoyed being a part of VCAP. Working directly with startup businesses showed me a perspective on venture capital that could not be taught in a traditional classroom setting. Seeing how entrepreneurs build their small businesses was a unique and interesting educational experience,” said Evan J. Daigrepont, a senior finance major. “VCAP was definitely the coolest thing I have done in my academic career at LSU.”
Nexus Louisiana is a Baton Rouge-based 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides high-potential, technology-enabled companies the coaching, capital and connections they need to accelerate their growth.
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has served as the flagship business college of Louisiana, playing an essential role in uplifting the economy of the state and the well-being of its citizens. Each year, the college graduates more than 1,000 exceptional men and women who are the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.
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Innovation Catalyst is a nonprofit venture development organization, formed by community leaders to strengthen and broaden Louisiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive new high-tech company formation through coaching, connections, and capital.
The Red Stick Angel Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovation Catalyst, whose members are accredited investors or “Angels” located in the greater Baton Rouge area. Its mission is to organize the Baton Rouge Angels as a network to identify, vet, and then aggregate investment capital of its members to invest in early-stage companies in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana. In addition to capital, its members provide coaching and connections to support and grow its portfolio companies, thereby fostering economic development and job creation in Baton Rouge and throughout the state.
LSU Innovation Park is a part of the LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development and provides entrepreneurs, small businesses, and companies with facilities and services necessary to launch and grow a successful organization. LSU Innovation Park offers amenities, access to experienced business consultants, services, and resources in the Capital region and throughout the state. Innovation Park also supports and manages the Small Business Development Center Network across the state. As the state’s flagship university, research is the cornerstone of LSU. LSU Innovation Park is located just five miles south of the main campus and is the focal point for technological innovation and startup ventures in the Baton Rouge region as a dedicated complex for research commercialization that benefits Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana. Visit our website https://www.lsu.edu/innovationpark/index.php or call us at 225-578-4842 to discuss your business needs.