Business incubator hatches new companies for area needs
Contact: Rene Abadie
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Client gains valuable advice – Calvin Fabre (right), CEO of Envoc, discusses business strategy with Wayne Ricks, senior consultant with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Louisiana University. Envoc is a client in the business incubator operated by the university’s Southeast Louisiana Business Center, a one-stop shop designed to attract new businesses to the area and help existing businesses expand.
HAMMOND – With Louisiana’s various business and tax incentives to start digital media and computer software enterprises – spurred on by Louisiana Economic Development and various Blue Ocean strategies – increasing numbers of companies are viewing Louisiana as the state to grow these specialized ventures.
One of those companies is Envōc. Initially in Houston as High Power Consulting, it has made its entry into the Louisiana market and is contributing to the growth of this prized industry sector in the state. One year ago, Envōc came under the wing of the Southeast Louisiana Business Center and is fast becoming a success story for the center’s business incubator.
“Southeastern Louisiana University has provided a professional business environment for our developers to innovate,” says Envōc Chief Executive Officer Calvin Fabre. “This has included a professional office building, conference and meeting rooms, and human resources, including market analysts to assist with pricing models and general business ideas.”
Envōc is a Louisiana-based company specializing in creating software and applications unique to individual businesses. The company deals with small businesses all the way to Fortune 500 companies that want a technology partner that excels in working with Enterprise-grade I.T. departments. It was founded in 1997 in Houston and relocated to Louisiana in 2002. Envōc has completed work for U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Department of Labor, Entergy, El Paso Entergy, Edgen-Murray and other large clients.
Fabre began working with center director William Joubert in 2010 and later brought Envōc into the incubator in the fall semester. Joubert sees Envōc as a great partner for the center and the university. The university-based incubator, Fabre added, combined with student talent should create new opportunities for Envōc.
“It is very exciting to have companies like Envōc in our incubator,” Joubert said. “The state has placed high priority in recruiting these kinds of firms. Technology companies tend to move very fast, and they are fun to work with.”
Joubert said the incubator’s goal is to help companies like Envōc develop a strong foundation and then “graduate” them into the business community. Companies in the incubator have access to the Business Center’s physical resources and amenities as well as the brain power and expertise of consultants with the university’s Louisiana Small Business Development Center, located in the same structure near the campus.
The incubator has hosted nearly 20 tenants since its opening several years ago. Joubert said business incubators have proven to significantly reduce the risk of small business failures, increase the creation of jobs more effectively and make important contributions to local economies. Companies developed in Southeastern’s incubator have garnered nearly $14 million in new capital to grow their businesses.
Fabre does not outsource overseas and hires as many local resources as he can. He believes very strongly that he doesn’t need to go elsewhere to find skilled programmers, but that he can find high quality talent in his own backyard.
“I’m a Southeastern graduate and know that the university’s computer science program is creating high-end graduates with cross-cutting skills that out-perform their counterparts,” says Fabre. “By hiring area graduates from Southeastern, LSU and Nicholls State and participating with our local colleges in an advisory role, Envōc is working to make Louisiana the technology capital of the south.”
Fabre is grateful to Southeastern and understands the incubator is only the starting point. He envisions expanding the specialized software company into at least three states by the end of the year while creating additional jobs in Hammond and other Louisiana communities.
“The incubator is like a ‘Singles Group’ where the purpose of participating in the group is to get out,” said Fabre. “Hopefully, we will grow to a size that they kick us out.”
For more information on the Southeastern Business Incubator, contact Joubert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 985-549-3831.