Accelerate Acadiana Program Boosts Small Business Growth in Greater Lafayette Region
In September 2016, EDA awarded $700,000 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funding to Winrock International and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to fund the operation of two business accelerators. Collectively known as the Accelerate Acadiana program, the accelerators provide technical assistance to start-up companies and coordinate various university programs that support new entrepreneurial development and job growth in the Acadiana region.
The program has helped to build a more sustainable regional economy.
A great example of a business that accelerated their growth by leveraging the EDA-sponsored Accelerate Acadiana program is Cajun Crate, a Louisiana-based company that sells Louisiana-made products through a monthly subscription box.
Cajun food products (or “fixins’” as the locals call them) can be difficult to find outside of the greater Lafayette, Louisiana area. Many who are from, or have lived in, Lafayette often crave indigenous food, sauces and spices when they relocate to other parts of the U.S.
With the success of the Accelerate Acadiana program, Cajun Crate has been able to sell customized “Cajun care packages” of Louisiana staples including gumbo, jambalaya, coffee, soda and hot sauces to patrons from all over the county. About 75 percent of Cajun Crate’s subscribers live out of state, including many Louisiana ex-pats.
Following their graduation from the first cohort of the program, in January 2018, Cajun Crate has opened a brick-and-mortar store in downtown Lafayette.
To learn more about EDA’s FY 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance program and current funding opportunity, visit: www.eda.gov/funding-opportunities.