Entrepreneurs say Baton Rouge great place to start business

POSTED: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 6:55pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 7:38pm

In a tough economy, young people are looking for ways to jump-start their careers, and Baton Rouge is providing the tools to do it.

Janae Bourgeois has always thought outside the box.

"Talking about what I wanted to do with my life was almost a foreign concept to others," she says. "They thought I was crazy. They'd say 'when are you going to stop goofing around and get serious and find a real job.' And I never could explain that I never wanted a real job."

Bourgeois graduated from LSU's Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute in December.

"That program has transformed my life," she explains. "Not the direction, but the speed in which I got where I wanted to be."

While she was in school, she connected with other people like her, who had a knack for creative ideas. Now, she's trying to start her own business.

"That creative energy was just contagious," she says.

Right now, it seems like more people are jumping on that start-up business bandwagon, and it's happening right here in Louisiana.

"There is a huge grassroots, ground swell of entrepreneurism, and you can feel it. You can see it," says Terry Jones. He's the managing director of RIO, a company that helps connect entrepreneurs across the state.

He says one of the reasons why so many people are interested in bringing new and creative businesses to the area has to do with the incentive program. Right now, start-up businesses get a 35% tax credit to set up shop in the state.

"You're building your talent pool, both as potential starters of the companies, as well as employees of the companies," he says. "That talent base is a real major issue."

It's giving young people, like Bourgeois, the chance to make an impact right here.

"It's exciting to see a city take on what's always been important," Bourgeois says.

This Friday, the first ever Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week kicks off, giving creative minds a chance to connect and create. Learn all about that on http://www.brewingupideas.com/.

Also, check out http://gumboyaya.org/

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