Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans

Known primarily as a cultural destination, New Orleans’ status as a port city has long made it one of the region’s premier economic hubs. Home to some more-established businesses, the city is also the third-youngest entrepreneurship scene in the country.

New Orleans, LA, known by most as either The Big Easy or simply NOLA, is the most populous city in the state of Louisiana. Known primarily as a cultural destination, the city’s status as a port city has long made it one of the region’s premier economic hubs. Home to some more-established businesses, the city is also a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2017, Entrepreneur Magazine listed New Orleans on their list “8 Cities Whose Entrepreneurship Communities Are Booming.” In 2018, the city finished 54th in WalletHub’s annual rankings of the best large cities to start a business, 61st in the same site’s rankings of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, and 81st on its list of the best metro areas for STEM professionals. The future is bright for entrepreneurship too: according to a 2018 study performed by LendingTree, the city has the third-youngest entrepreneurship scene in the country.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up New Orleans’ entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The New Orleans Professional Development Meetup is a group that connects area professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs and helps them grow and succeed.

NOLA Meetup holds monthly events geared towards the technology and startup scene in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

New Orleans is home to one branch of Tech Talent South, an organization dedicated to promoting technology education and support throughout the southern United States.

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Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Inc. Magazine organizes an annual Grow Your Company Conference, or GrowCo Conference, in NOLA help support entrepreneurship and small business.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is an annual weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship, with speakers and other events taking place throughout the week.

The VenturePop Creative Conference is held annually in New Orleans to help people create, manage, and grow their creative businesses.

 

Startup Competitions:

The JEDCO Challenge is an annual competition in which five entrepreneurs pitch their startups head-to-head for a chance to win the $20,000 prize.

The Pitch It! Innovation Challenge is a competition in which area non-profit startups compete for grant money, with a grand prize of $25,000.

Propeller hosts PitchNOLA, a series of startup competitions with differing themes, sponsors, and prize amounts.

Students at Tulane University can compete in the school’s Business Model Competition for a chance to win over $40,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Including a communal common room, a flexible studio space, and a more traditional work area on the second floor, The Blue House can accommodate a wide variety of members.

Specifically intended for entrepreneurs, Landing Zone New Orleans tries to connect its members with resources and amenities to help its members grow their businesses.

With several locations around the country and one in NOLA, Launchpad offers flexible membership plans to best meet its members’ needs.

Hosted in the Contemporary Arts Center, The Shop is a large co-working space specifically intended to support creativity.

The Warehouse has a variety of membership types and plans available, from private office options to single-day passes.

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Maker spaces:

With a location in Anchorage, AK as well as one in NOLA, IDIYA is a public workshop and educational facility to help people create things.

Jefferson Parish Library offers people of all ages the chance to work with and learn about 3D printing.

Tulane University offers a 4,100 square foot workshop and design space with a variety of tools and equipment for prototyping and creating.

 

Incubators:

Not strictly designed for businesses, the Culture-up Incubator provides office space and support services to artists and creative enterprises.

Idea Village organizes accelerators as well as several other programs and resources to support entrepreneurship in the area.

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center runs programs with the goal of supporting startups that focus on the life sciences.

In addition to a pair of accelerator programs, Propeller offers other resources for entrepreneurs, including working space and a program for business owners of color.

Hosted by Southern University at New Orleans, the SBDMI provides incubation programs and other services to grow small businesses in the area.

 

Accelerators:

Through a six-month program, Camelback Ventures provides capital, coaching and connections to underserved entrepreneurs, specifically people of color and women.

Idea Village also hosts several 4-month accelerator programs with carrying focuses to best meet the diverse needs of area entrepreneurs.

Propeller organizes a pair of accelerator programs: the Startup Accelerator, for idea-stage startups, and the Growth Accelerator for already-established businesses.

Alongside other resources to help veterans transition into other careers, the Vet Launch Business Accelerator works specifically to help veterans launch startups.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Delgado Community College offers a program in which students can earn a Certificate of Technical Studies in entrepreneurship.

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola University New Orleans offers resources outside the classroom as well as an undergraduate minor and MBA specialization in entrepreneurship.

Tulane University offers a number of resources and classes on both a graduate and undergraduate level to support student entrepreneurship.

Undergraduate students at the University of New Orleans have the opportunity to earn a minor in entrepreneurship.

In addition to several out-of-the-classroom resources, Xavier University of Louisiana offers a minor and certificate program in entrepreneurship.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

With locations across the United States, Advantage Capital invests in a variety of different companies through differing methods.

Focusing on local companies, Lagniappe Angels invests in early-stage startups with a proven product and high growth potential.

The nonprofit evergreen fund that invests in early-stage companies in the New Orleans region.

NOLA Angel Network provides seed- or Series A stage funding to companies in New Orleans and the state as a whole, without any specific industry requirements.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The MorningBiz is a newsletter sent by the Biz New Orleans magazine that aggregates important business news.

New Orleans CityBusiness offers a daily e-mail alert covering the day’s biggest business headlines.

Silicon Bayou News, a website that covers entrepreneurship news in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana as a whole, offers a weekly newsletter.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in New Orleans not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.