14 Mar New Orleans’ Startup Scene Isn’t in Startup Mode

Kevin Wilkins NOEWKevin Wilkins always knew entrepreneurship was in his DNA, and he used his passion and business background to start an impact consulting firm called trepwise in 2013.

Wilkins and the trepwise team are on the front lines of the entrepreneurial scene in New Orleans, advising clients across all industry sectors on finance, operations and marketing with customized tactics and approaches. He is proud of how trepwise has grown from a local organization to one with national influence, such as in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

Wilkins said entrepreneurship “is in the oxygen of the city.”

“We meet organizations where they are, we roll up our sleeves and we work together to get to the next level,” Wilkins said. “We’re about capacity building. My goal is never to have anyone be reliant on us. My goal is to have people work with us to learn from us and then go and thrive.”

Wilkins said he hopes investors realize that entrepreneurship in New Orleans is no longer a dream, but a reality. He added that a company like trepwise likely wouldn’t have thrived in previous years.

“We’re somewhat a proxy for where the city is,” Wilkins said. “I’m not sure organizations would have been able to pay or been willing to pay, say, seven years ago for this type of experience-based advice and guidance. Today, there’s a lot of demand. I think that demand is a reflection of where New Orleans is, where you’ve got organizations who are willing to invest in themselves.”

Investing in new business in New Orleans is one way to help the city continue to grow, Wilkins said. He added that the mindset of New Orleans encourages innovation and new ideas that spark social and economic change.

“We have companies that are moving here thanks to the great effort that NOLABA is doing,” he said. “We also have organizations that are growing. As you have more and more successful entrepreneurial stories, it will become self-perpetuating. You’ll have more entrepreneurial leaders to share their experiences and strength. I see that ecosystem becoming more robust.”