From left, Tulane University MBA students Xavier Cabo, Ruth Yomtoubian, Ashton Prat and Jon Atkinson work at the Idea Village office to consult with a local entrepreneurial business during Entrepreneur Week.

From left, Tulane University MBA students Xavier Cabo, Ruth Yomtoubian, Ashton Prat and Jon Atkinson work at the Idea Village office to consult with a local entrepreneurial business during Entrepreneur Week. Photo: Tulane Publications | FlickrCC.

Mention New Orleans, and people think about great jazz music, historic architecture in the French Quarter, and delicious Creole food. However, our collective memories of this great city were altered forever ten years ago with a devastating act of nature–and human neglect.

Hurricane Katrina led to unheralded flooding in the poorest parts of the city. Human indifference and poor planning led to inadequate flood protections and levees that were unable to protect local residents.

Over the last decade heroic efforts have been made by local, regional, and national government organizations to bring New Orleans back to life. The business and financial communities work hand in hand with government agencies as well as on their own using business development, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship to bring economic life back to the city.

The Idea Village is an economic catalyst and innovative business resource that is revitalizing the big bayou. Experienced professionals from the financial industry like Robert Vorhoff, Managing Director at General Atlantic, have become members of their Board of Directors. Working with fellow volunteers, Vorhoff and The Idea Village Team have fashioned a center of excellence and creative business thinking that is revitalizing the region and providing opportunities for a broad range of residents.

New Orleans before Katrina is now the province of historians and poets. The New Orleans of today and tomorrow is the responsibility of politicians, citizens, and innovators with big ideas and experience in the business and financial community. New Orleans’s best hope is in the hands of creative thinkers and risk takers who can innovate business and technology. Projects sponsored by The Idea Village are allowing New Orleans to emerge stronger that it was before Katrina’s devastation.

The Idea Village promotes New Orleans as a locus for regional, national, and even global entrepreneurship and innovation in business, technology, and social welfare projects. Entrepreneurship in New Orleans is provided context and support through The Idea Village’s Entrepreneur Season, which offers educational workshops, networking events, mentorship, and strategic consulting services to startups in the New Orleans region.

The Entrepreneur Season reaches its peak in March each year when New Orleans hosts Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). It’s an 8-day festival in the heart of downtown New Orleans engaging a network of entrepreneurs, students, corporations, investors, educators, and nonprofits in discussion, debate, competition, and celebration. In 2015, the event attracted over 10,000 participants and hosted 86 unique events with 43 different corporate and startup partners. The success of this event is a clear sign that the future of New Orleans is full of great ideas and innovative business thinking.

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