EVANGELINE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Business-minded residents in Evangeline Parish are currently going through a program called Accelerate Evangeline. The goal is to look at entrepreneurship as a vehicle for change in the community.  

The Louisiana entrepreneurship and economic development centers at UL Lafayette along with economic leaders in the area are teaching this six-week course. 

Geoffery Stewart with Accelerate Evangeline says the program is also geared toward helping people harness control over their finances.

“It’s essentially a Business 101 type of program where there’s no requirement for you having a business or even having a business idea,” Stewart said. “All we are trying to do is look at entrepreneurship as a vehicle for changing the trajectory of people’s financial future but also putting their family and more control over the finances in their home.”

18 business-minded residents showed up every Saturday to learn from guest speakers and organizers.

Jimmy Doucet with Pine Point Sauce Factory is taking the course. 

“Last week we learned about accounting and finances, and the week before was learning how to start a business. They are teaching you the importance of incorporating whether it’s an LLC or something more complicated,” Doucet said. “They are teaching you business strategies and using actual scenarios of successful people to encourage you.” 

“Right now one of the most important things is to know that you’re not doing it alone,” Stewart said.

“Sometimes in business, we worry about competition and not wanting to engage with other businesses. But through these programs, we have seen beautiful communities develop where they can work with each other, share with each other,” Stewart added. “You start to see some momentum when someone does something well, everyone else rallies around them and it gets a little contagious. It’s pretty fun.”

The program running now is similar to the Accelerate Northside program that will be offered again in October to residents in the north side of Lafayette.