New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, State Rep. Jared C. Brossett, D-New Orleans, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell and several other local officials joined Chancellor Victor Ukpolo at the ground breaking for the Small Business Incubator Center at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) Monday, January 13 at 11:30 a.m. in the College of Business & Public Administration Building on the University’s Lake Campus.
The ceremony marked the start of construction for the $3-million facility, a part of the University’s Small Business Development & Management Institute, under the direction of Cynthia K. Beaulieu. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the construction of the Business Incubator should be complete in two years. The new building, designed by Chasm + Fusion Architecture Inc., will allow interaction between classroom education and real-world entrepreneurs. Livers Construction is the general contractor.
“SUNO is growing into the university it has always been,” Mayor Landrieu said during his remarks Monday. The Small Business Incubator is coming at a perfect time, when the city is “moving to a knowledge-based economy — from brawns to brains,” he added.
Brossett agreed, saying SUNO’s Business Incubator will be “a breeding ground for new growth.”
New Orleans City Councilmember Cynthia Hedge Morrell said: “It was always a part of the plan as we rebuilt Pontchartrain Park that SUNO be a part of that process. SUNO will continue to grow.”
University administrators expect the Business Incubator to pay major academic dividends by creating an environment for cross-disciplinary learning and entrepreneurial collaboration between business majors and students from other disciplines, such as Social Work, Education and Natural Sciences.
“The new facility will support the College of Business & Public Administration by allowing faculty to deliver practical teaching, research and community service,” said College of Business Dean Igwe Udeh. “It also will allow us to increase our support of job creation and a stronger tax base for the community.”
The University currently operates a business incubator that houses 10 businesses at 7240 Crowder Blvd. in eastern New Orleans.