Launch of NOLAbound program showcases New Orleans as an emerging center of entrepreneurship and innovation
Program to give 25 qualified professionals an all-expenses-paid opportunity to experience the New Orleans entrepreneurial community firsthand in March 2012
NEW ORLEANS – Nov. 21, 2011 – Today marks the official launch of the application period for NOLAbound, a bold program designed to give 25 qualified individuals the opportunity to experience, document, and share their unfiltered impressions of the “new” New Orleans, with a focus on the entrepreneurial movement within four sectors: arts-based businesses, biosciences, digital media, and sustainable industries. Calling on the nation’s most innovative minds, the application period will remain open until Friday, December 16, 2011 at benolabound.com. Listen to Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village, and Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc., discuss this initiative live with Garland Robinette on WWL-AM870.
New Orleans was recently named America’s “Biggest Brain Magnet” by Forbes and the “Coolest Startup City in America” by Inc. magazine.� The goal of NOLAbound is to prove that New Orleans is indeed one of the best places to live, work, and play.
An all-expenses-paid program for professionals from across the country to assess the city as a model of new business progress and thinking, NOLAbound will partially overlap with the fourth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.� The project is a collaborative effort of Downtown Development District of New Orleans, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and The Idea Village.� Zoey Devall, Curry W. Smith, and Cameron Yancey are managing NOLAbound for the three organizations, respectively.� NOLAbound is made possible with generous funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
“This partnership with the Economic Development Administration, GNO, Inc., and The Idea Village will allow us to identify, import, and engage some of the country’s creative rising stars, while simultaneously showcasing local businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Kurt Weigle, President and CEO of DDD. “We believe our unparalleled economic opportunities and progressive energy make New Orleans one of the most attractive places in the world to start and grow a business. NOLAbound will broadcast that message to the world.”
All participants will be asked to share their observations about—and insights into—New Orleans and its entrepreneurial community through the NOLAbound website and via their own social media networks.� The entire five-day program will be filmed, and a documentary will premiere in October 2012.
“I've founded successful companies in New York, London, and Los Angeles, but right now New Orleans is the absolute best place to build a startup,” said Patrick Comer, founder and CEO of Federated Sample, a New Orleans-based online market research company that currently employs 22 people and recently raised $2.8 million in venture capital funding. “Innovators and entrepreneurs need to consider NOLA for a unique mix of culture and business that is nurturing the startup community here. The rich vein of creativity is unlike anything else I’ve seen, and the system of technology development and angel investor tax credits creates immediate return for both investors and startups.”
The NOLAbound program will take place from Wednesday, March 14 to Sunday, March 18, 2012.� Specific components include the following:
- The call for applications began Thursday, November 17, 2011 and will run for one month at benolabound.com;
- 25 total selected participants within four targeted industry sectors—arts-based businesses, biosciences, digital media, and sustainable industries—will be announced in January;
- Invited participants will receive free airfare, ground transportation, meals, and room and board;
- Invitees will have access to certain New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) events; meet with leaders in the city’s growing arts, biosciences, digital, and sustainable sectors; be granted VIP access to select activities in the city; and will be encouraged to experience the unique neighborhoods, people, and culture of New Orleans;
- The experiences of participants will be captured as part of a documentary feature film highlighting the emergence of New Orleans as an entrepreneurial hub;
- Participants will be asked to share their activities in New Orleans and their impressions of the city through the NOLAbound website, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, and/or their own blogs;
- NOLAbound followers will vote for the one participant they feel is best able to communicate their impressions of the city and its business environment;
- One winner will be tabulated from Twitter votes during the program to return to New Orleans for an all-expenses-paid trip for the documentary’s world premiere in October 2012.
“The New Orleans region has steadfastly worked toward positive changes that are creating historic opportunities for economic growth and strength,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc.� “Through NOLAbound, we aim to attract ‘key influencers’ from emerging creative industries and then leverage them to reach thousands more with the story of the ‘new’ Greater New Orleans.”
The program uses the power of new communication vehicles to allow participants to share stories about their NOLAbound experiences in their own words.� The content will not be controlled or filtered in any way.� NOLAbound aims to build relationships and resources, and to further engage with individuals and their networks about their perceptions of how business in New Orleans is evolving.
“New Orleans is an entrepreneurial hotbed, and NOLAbound participants will see firsthand the movement that began over 10 years ago because of our vibrant culture, supportive networks, and abundant business resources,” said Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village.
For more information on NOLAbound, including selection criteria for interested applicants, please visit benolabound.com. �NOLAbound can also be found on Twitter @benolabound and on facebook.com/benolabound.com.
ABOUT THE IDEA VILLAGE:
The Idea Village was founded in 2000 as an independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing business resources to high-impact ventures. To date, The Idea Village has provided direct assistance to 1,101 entrepreneurs by engaged a global network of 1,746 MBAs, professionals, and investors to provide over 42,000 consulting hours and allocate over $2.7 million in capital. Collectively, this portfolio has created 1,006 jobs and generates $82M each year.
Remember to trust your crazy ideas,
The Idea Village team