Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

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Southern, LSBDC to host global and product innovation sessions for entrepreneurs


When innovation meets entrepreneurship, great things happen. The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University and the Southern University Innovation Center are bringing to the capital region a series of trainings through an event called, "Innovate Now! When Innovation Meets Entrepreneurship" that will begin on January 16, 2018, at the Southern University Innovation Center located at 616 Harding Blvd, Baton Rouge.

“Innovate Now!” will build awareness and provide information to the small business community to inspire and inform aspiring and existing entrepreneurs about resources to help them succeed. This dynamic series addresses three major areas of focus: innovation in business, product innovation, and innovation globally.

LSBDC at Southern University interim director Ada Womack, said "entrepreneurs want to be intellectually challenged, and want to make a difference in society while still obtaining financial gain."

Innovation is simply a new way of doing something, Womack said, and added that innovation is defined as incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations.

Entrepreneurship is "one who takes a risk to start a small business." Womack said the well-known innovation equation model is innovation = creativity + risk-taking.

"Southern University offers innovation, research, and entrepreneurship assistance all on one campus," Womack said.

The University has taken large steps towards developing its entrepreneurship and economic activity especially since the grand opening of its Innovation Center in September.

Southern University executive director for strategic engagement Deanna Williams Smith said,"We are equally as excited about the upcoming “Innovate Now” campaign which allows the local business community to take advantage of the numerous resources offered in one stop."

"The SU Innovation Center provides attractive and affordable lease office space to small upcoming businesses as well as outreach programs for our students who are guided by an entrepreneurial spirit," Smith said. "Through our partnership with the LSBDC, our business tenants have a unique opportunity to form critical partnerships, business training resources, and access to student and faculty engagement. It's a great time to start the New Year with ideas and passion through innovation." 

The “Innovate Now!” schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Innovation in Business: 5 – 7 p.m.

Speaker: Shakita Billups, entrepreneur

During this session you will learn about bringing innovation into your business that can help you save time and money, and give you the competitive advantage to grow and adapt your business in the marketplace. Innovation can increase the likelihood of your business succeeding. Businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better productivity and performance.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - Product Innovation: 5 – 7 p.m.

Speaker - Dr. Carlos Thomas, (title)

This session will provide an introduction to product innovation and the steps in creating your product or service that is new or significantly improved regarding characteristics or intended uses. These components are inclusive of significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness or other functional characteristics. Product innovations may include both new products and new uses for existing products.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 – Innovation Globally: 5 – 7 p.m.

Speaker: Mike Smith, CEO-OPEX

In this session you will learn about the challenges and benefits of taking your business global.Many businesses are aware that there are hidden opportunities in global innovation. Global operations is a treasure trove of ideas and capabilities for innovation. It can be challenging going global with your ideas or exploit the capabilities in global innovation projects. Some of the challenges of global projects are familiar: figuring out the right role for top executives, for example, or finding a good balance between formal and informal project management processes.

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