Nov. 2, 2015 01:55 PM
Independent, ABiz, INNOV8 Acadiana and Downtown Lafayette collaborate in first-ever Celebration of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Nov. 12-14

INNOV8 Acadiana is teaming up with ABiz, The Independent and the Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association for a first-ever mash up to promote entrepreneurism and innovation in the region. Throw in some culinary and cocktail innovations and a night of comedy Downtown and you’ve got another first-ever for Lafayette. Bam.

The three-day series kicks off with the ABiz’s Entrepreneur of the Year Symposium Thursday, Nov. 12, at noon at the Cajundome Convention Center. This year’s honorees include Entrepreneur of the Year Butch Darce, chairman/CEO of Taylors International, whose company’s recent tripledigit growth earned the rank of No. 15 on the ABiz Top 50 for 2015. BBR Creative director/co-founder Cathi Pavy will receive the first-ever Jillian Johnson Award for Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy, which honors the legacy of Lafayette’s beloved business owner and creative force who was one of the two women killed in the tragic Grand Theatre shooting in July. Joining the panel will be Seenu Kasturi, CEO of Blue Victory Holdings, the ABiz 2013 Dealmaker of the Year.

Opportunity Machine executive director Zachary Barker will serve as moderator for the panel, and iNNOV8 Acadiana will also recognize the 2015 Innovators of the Year. The luncheon is sponsored by Regions Insurance, Regions Bank and Andrus Boudreaux Complete Title. Luncheon tickets are $40. For more information, contact Robin Hebert at or by phone at (337) 769-8603.

The full INNOV8Acadiana Technology and Entrepreneurial Summit schedule is available at and includes a technology job fair, an eight-state pitch challenge (produced in cooperation with the Delta Regional Authority), the re-launch of Cajun Code Fest, a Saturday series of seminars with notable guest speakers and more. Events will take place at LITE and The Picard Center. The fee for registration begins at $20.

INNOV8 after hours heads Downtown, where four members of the Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will participate in INNOV8 the Plate, including culinary creations by Jefferson Street Pub, Pamplona, Tsunami and Legends Annex, which will offer a customcrafted INNOV8 cocktail. INNOV8 Specials will be available both Friday and Saturday nights. Watch for menu details on the DLRBA, INNOV8Acadiana and Independent websites and Facebook pages.

Adding a bit of whimsy to the lineup will be Brooks Wheelan of HBO, Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central fame. He’s slated for Friday night, Nov. 13, at NiteTown.

To purchase tickets for this event visit