The Opportunity Machine(OM) officially opened today at 314 Jefferson Street in Downtown Lafayette.
The building, which was historically Knight’s/Lee’s Furniture Store and then Karma Nightclub, is now Downtown Lafayette’s most inspiring entrepreneurial space.
The newly renovated 22,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art office building features community workspace, private desk space, private office spaces ranging from 100 to 900 square feet, conference and training rooms, 24-hour key card access, high-speed fiber internet, use of whiteboards and Audio/Video equipment, and other amenities all centrally located in Downtown Lafayette.
“This state-of-the-art facility will support the Opportunity Machine’s goal of establishing itself as one of the best business incubators in the South,” said Mandi D. Mitchell, LEDA President, and CEO. “Being located in Downtown Lafayette will benefit OM members and existing businesses by strengthening downtown’s vibrant ecosystem and igniting business growth potential.”
Momentum For Startups.
With the move into this space, Opportunity Machine will continue to provide small business support and resources and will expand programming to reach the high-growth startup community. Even with the numerous resources available to small businesses in Acadiana, a gap exists in the resources and support provided to high-growth startups, especially those in tech and STEM-focused areas. This expansion in programming will bridge that gap and help create momentum for startups in Lafayette Parish.
Below are several quotes and photos of the OM.
“The total economic impact of the Opportunity Machine is over $164 million,” Tom Cox, President & Chairman of the OM Board of Directors, said. “Impressive impact, but we are still in the early innings of this effort. This grand opening today establishes a permanent home for OM that will help chart our course to become one of the most impactful economic development-based startup centers in the south.”
Destin Ortego, Executive Director at Opportunity Machine, commented “Our goal in expanding is to encourage people with ideas to explore those ideas from a business and startup perspective. Research shows that to get 20 fundable startup ideas, on average a community needs to generate 1,000 ideas and narrow the list from there. Our goal is to help people develop and navigate through ideas to reach a fundable high growth startup idea as quickly as possible.”
“The relocation of the Opportunity Machine to Jefferson Street in Downtown Lafayette will inject even more entrepreneurial and creative energy to our central business district due to the 80+ OM member businesses who will show up downtown every day focused on strengthening their business and creating jobs,” said Anita Begnaud, CEO of Downtown Development Authority (DDA). “Numerous OM graduates, representing several hundred employees, have made the decision to locate their permanent offices downtown after graduating from the OM. We look forward to this trend continuing, and the OM being a major driver in downtown’s job growth, development, and revitalization efforts for years to come.”
“Opportunity Machine is another critical tool in our arsenal to help incubate small business growth, entrepreneurship, and attract diverse business in Lafayette,” said Josh Guillory, Lafayette Mayor-President. “Relocating and expanding downtown further expands our economy, which, in turn, improves quality of life, making Lafayette a premiere business destination.”
During the Grand Opening event, one of the OM’s members and locally-founded companies, Hampr, announced that they just received a new round of founding for $5 million. This is only one example of the many businesses that are in and have graduated from the OM to go on to become successful companies.
For those looking to explore their business ideas, applications to become an Opportunity Machine Incubated Member can be found at https://opportunitymachine.org/membership. Applicants accepted into the incubator program can receive access to additional office space, programming (including the Customer Discovery Program), perks, discounts, mentorship, and waived membership fees.
Below are photos of first two levels of the OM. The third level is still being built out and will include even more space for members.