Arts & Entertainment,
Technology & Science,
March 27th, 2012
New Orleans is a city that spoils the imagination. Its history is spirited, its food unrepentant, and its climate is sultry nearly all year long. It’s no wonder that so many creative minds (William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Louis Armstrong) have been unable to resist its romance. But lately New Orleans has been attracting a new kind: ambitious entrepreneurs who have found fertile ground along the bayou.
After a trifecta of trauma — Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and a global recession — entrepreneurship has been key to the city’s cultural and economic revival. In March New Orleans hosts its fourth Entrepreneur Week, a conference where aspiring business owners receive coaching from big-name investors and hone their pitches with an audience of MBA students from programs at Tulane, Stanford and Northwestern, among others. It’s the culmination of a six-month-long “start-up season” organized by the non-profit Idea Village, whose ambition to create a sustainable ecosystem for New Orleans start-ups is beginning to come to fruition: they’ve overseen a portfolio of companies that have, between them, created at least a thousand new jobs.