About the SEED CenterIn 2008, McNeese State University, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury (CPPJ), the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (serving the five-parish area), and the City of Lake Charles formed a partnership to create the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center. This initiative was conceived to enhance economic development for the state and establish a "one stop shop" for economic development services in Southwest Louisiana. A feasibility study conducted by Charles D’Agostino, Executive Director of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center at Louisiana State University, found that this proposed project had tremendous potential to become one of the top economic development programs in the state. In 2010, McNeese committed property for the SEED Center, the City of Lake Charles and CPPJ contributed $500,000 each, and the Alliance committed $1 million. These matching funds, together with Calcasieu Parish CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for $7,000,000 and EDA funds for $3,900,000 provided the needed funding to construct the SEED center.
In the fall of 2010, ground was broken and construction began on the SEED Center. The SEED Center houses 32 incubator offices, the McNeese Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning & Development Commission, McNeese Student Innovation Center, McNeese Institute for Industry Education Collaboration, McNeese Internship program, McNeese Office of Economic Development, School of Graduate Studies and Extended Education and other services. The SWLA Economic Development Alliance operated SEED Center Business Incubator's mission is to serve the five parish region as the economic catalyst to facilitate the development and sustainability of early stage ventures and existing businesses.
The SEED Center building is a 52,315 sq ft three story multi-use building located on eight-acres near the Contraband Bayou waterway at 4310 Ryan Street in Lake Charles. The facility was designed by Champeaux Evans Hotard, APAC and constructed by Bessette Development Corporation. The SEED Center is geographically located in a highly diverse economy with a wide array of opportunities to attract entrepreneurs and create quality small businesses that can provide high paying jobs. The SWLA region is home to petrochemical industries, oil and gas, agriculture, fisheries, education, hospitality, gaming, allied health, the port, an industrial park, and more. Locating the SEED Center at McNeese centralizes support services for enhancing economic growth and sustainability, encourages innovation through strategic partnerships, as well as promotes new and diverse business ventures and entrepreneurial efforts in Southwest Louisiana.