Acadiana Business

Swimming in the shark tank

by Kari Walker

Five hopefuls seek investment opportunities to dream bigger.

The Acadiana Center for the Arts theater was a full house Thursday night as people gathered to hear entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for potential investment opportunities at The Vault. Part of INNOV8 Lafayette, thisĀ  event was presented by InventureWorks, a Lafayette based company with a passion for helping innovators and investing partners come together and give life to new ideas.

On this evening, five hopefuls from across the United States anxiously waited to present their plans to five investors with the potential to provide $150,000 in investments. One of these entrepreneurs was Ken Arceneaux of Rayne. His invention, Pooyie, is an organic compost of living soil for gardening.

Photo by Kari Walker

Ken Arceneaux of Pooyie and wife Phyllis

Arceneaux started his business in 2008 after a dig of a pond on his property yielded excess soil that he learned how to turn into something useful. He has two products on the market under the Pooyie brand and has plans to expand. With help from generous investors, Arceneaux could expand beyond his current market of a 50-mile radius.

Each contestant had 15 minutes to present his ideas to the panel of investors and await his fate. After much discussion, the investors decided what ideas had the most appeal to reward with the cash, and the evening ended with two of the entrepreneurs receiving funding. Steve Moore of Dallas, owner of Mosquito Steve, and Roderick Calhoun of Beaumont, Calif., owner of Gotta'GO, now have a little more fuel to keep their dreams growing.

Arceneaux remained upbeat after the competition. "It was a lot of fun and a good networking experience," he said. "And I'm still looking for investors."

To learn more about this local entrepreneur and his products, click here.