Local entrepreneur fund remains a work in progress
Step One Ventures, which seeks to help local early-stage companies grow, has been deemed ineligible to receive money from a state-controlled seed fund. However, LED Secretary Stephen Moret says the department "looks forward to working with them as they complete the application process." Step One, a project of BRAC and the Research Park Corp., which runs the Louisiana Technology Park, wants $1 million from a State Small Business Credit Initiative seed capital program. But the project lacks the necessary $1.5 million in matching funds. According to a letter written by an LED staffer, Step One has two pledges of $250,000 each from two individuals. The pledges were made almost a year ago and are contingent on the full $1.5 million being raised. The letter also cites Step One's lack of management or employees, and says the relationship among Step One, BRAC and the RPC has not been clearly explained. Step One is invited to resubmit its application "once the CEO and management team has been established." However BRAC President/CEO Adam Knapp says, "You have to get your ducks in a row on the organizational funding and the seed capital funding in order to attract the right team." Final approval for the $1 million in seed capital would come from the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. board. Step One's predecessor, known as the Regional Innovation Organization, was slated to go before the LEDC board last year but withdrew its application. —David Jacobs
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