20 Jan Plans unveiled for 7th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week


By: Jed Lipinski

“Mardi Gras, NOEW, Jazz Fest, Saints,” Tim Williamson repeated several times Tuesday night, as if to hypnotize the crowd at Il Mercato, an events venue on Magazine St., into seeing New Orleans Entrepreneur Week as equally significant to the other three.

Williamson, the founder and CEO of the local business incubator The Idea Village, knows that could take some time. Still, he is a true believer in the power of entrepreneurship to transform communities for the better. And this year’s Entrepreneur Week, he said during Tuesday night’s unveiling ceremony, is the biggest one yet.

An annual festival celebrating entrepreneurship, innovation and advanced thinking, NOEW 2015 takes place March 20-27. While Gallier Hall has hosted the event in the past, NOEW 2015 will be headquartered along Fulton Street. The larger footprint provides 118 total slots for local founders to showcase their ideas, an 87 percent increase over NOEW 2014.

NOEW director Victoria Adams said more than 10,000 attendees are expected, compared to just over 5,000 last year. The industry focus will be on energy and healthcare, and more than 30 organizations will be, as Williamson put it, “leveraging the NOEW platform” — startup-speak for showing off their stuff.

What follows are the key announcements for NOEW 2015, followed by the NOEW 2015 Highlights by Day, as provided by The Idea Village.

Key Announcements of NOEW 2015

1.) NOEW 2015, presented by IBERIABANK, is March 20-27, 2015.

NOEW is the platform for the New Orleans entrepreneurial community, produced by The Idea Village. Funding for NOEW 2015-2017 provided by The IV 100, a select group of forward thinking corporations, foundations, and individuals committed to nurturing a self-sustaining entrepreneurial community in New Orleans by 2018.

2.) NOEW 2015 will be headquartered on Fulton Street, with select sanctioned events being hosted across the region.

All NOEW 2015 events are located along Fulton Street in downtown New Orleans. Key locations including Manning’s, The Chicory, Fulton Alley, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Harrah’s Hotel. Sanctioned “off campus” include the JEDCO Entrepreneur Challenge at Southport Hall in Jefferson Parish, the Startup St. Bernard Challenge at the Meraux Foundation in St. Bernard Parish, and the VetLaunch Challenge at the Landing Zone.

3.) There is 87% increase in number of entrepreneurs to be showcased at NOEW 2015.

NOEW 2015 will provide 118 slots for local founders to be showcased for access to resources, an 87% increase from NOEW 2014. This increase is due to more open call opportunities and demos. These startups represent a number of diverse industries including food, water, digital media, technology, education, and arts. The specific companies and events will be announced in upcoming weeks via @helloNOEW.

4.) NOEW Investor Pass available to national investors.

NOEW 2015 will offer a focused Investor Track for national investors that will provide access to 50 new ventures in 50 hours – from seed stage to venture ready -from Wednesday, March 25 to Friday, March 27. The NOEW Investor Pass includes access to private events, one-one meetings with entrepreneurs, venture showcases and networking events. There are a limited number of NOEW Investor Passes available for accredited investors only. For more information, contact alex@ideavillage.org.

5.) 30+ organizations are leveraging the NOEW platform.

  • Local Nonprofit Partners: 4.0 Schools, Creative Alliance of New Orleans, Downtown Development District, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, InNOLAvation, Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, Junior Achievement of Great New Orleans, Junior League of New Orleans, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, Loyola-New Orleans, Greater New Orleans Inc., New Orleans Business Alliance, New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, PowerMoves, Propeller, Startup St. Bernard, Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative, Tulane University, Urban League of Greater New Orleans, and VetLaunch.
  • National Partners: 1776 and Delta Regional Authority.
  • Corporate Partners: Ochsner Health Systems, GE Healthcare, Cox Business, Kickstarter, Salesforce, and Silverline.

6.) Energy and Healthcare will be new industry focuses debut at NOEW 2015.

An Energy Innovation Summit, hosted by Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative, and a Healthcare Innovation Summit, hosted by Ochsner Health Systems in partnership with GE Healthcare, will debut during NOEW 2015. Current strategic industry initiatives launched previously at NOEW include: Water, Education, and Arts.

7.) The LookFar Tent at Manning’s will allow New Orleans entrepreneurs to pay it forward.

Leading New Orleans entrepreneurs will showcase available jobs, demo products, and provide mentorship at the LookFar Tent in the Manning’s courtyard on Fulton Street on Thursday March 26th.

8.) New Orleans has become recognized as a model city for entrepreneurship and NOEW is the place to learn.

Through a partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, up to 16 entrepreneurs from across the delta region and up to 16 individuals and nonprofits that support entrepreneurs will be travelling to NOEW 2015 to learn and connect.

9.) NOEW VIP Tickets are available this year.

NOEW is free and open to the public, but this year there are limited NOEW VIP Tickets for sale priced at $250 and $500, starting today at www.NOEW.org.

10.) @helloNOEW has launched on Twitter and Instagram.

Follow @helloNOEW for real-time updates and the latest information about NOEW 2015, be the first to know about NOEW 2015 entrepreneurs, keynote speakers, news on entrepreneurial community and special offers.

The full 2015 calendar, with times and locations, will be released on February 23rd, when registration opens.

NOEW 2015 Highlights by Day:

Friday, March 20th: The New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2015 Opening Celebration

NOEW 2015 will kick off with an innovative, New Orleans-style launch event that is free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 21st: The NOLA Next Young Innovators Experience, hosted by Junior Achievement and The Idea Village, sponsored by the Brees Dream Foundation

For local students, the NOLA Next Young Innovators Experience will feature engaging workshops, speakers and demos. It will culminate with the Trust Your Crazy Ideas high school pitch competition.

Sunday, March 22nd: The Food MiniCon, a collaboration between the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute and the Idea Village, sponsored by French Market Coffee, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and Rouses Markets

This MiniCon will feature the latest food innovations to the public.

Monday March 23rd: Pitch Local, brought to you by JP Morgan

Pitch Local will highlight 8 different entrepreneur showcase events hosted by local ecosystem partners. They include: 
The 5th annual Water Challenge hosted by Propeller and sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Foundation
The 4.0 Schools Education Pitch
The Downtown NOLA Arts Based Business Pitch hosted by the Downtown Development District, Creative Alliance of New Orleans, and Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation
Tulane’s Business Model Competition hosted by Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA)
The Women in Business Challenge hosted by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans
The VetLaunch Challenge hosted VetLaunch
The JEDCO Entrepreneur Challenge hosted by JEDCO
The Startup St. Bernard Challenge hosted by the Meraux Foundation

Tuesday, March 24th – Thursday, March 26th: NOEW Interactive

For those looking to learn and connect, NOEW Interactive is the 3-day track of keynotes, seminars, networking events, and open pitch opportunities to be connected, engaged, and inspired. Themes for 2015 include Marketing & Branding, Technology, and Raising Capital/Scaling.

Wednesday March 25th- Friday 27th: NOEW Investor Track

For investors, the NOEW Investor track will highlight 50 companies in 50 hours. The NOEW VIP Investor Track is and for national accredited investors. For more information, contact alex@ideavillage.org.

Thursday March 26th: Energy and Healthcare Innovation Summits

New to the NOEW calendar, an Energy Innovation Summit, hosted by Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative, and a Healthcare Innovation Summit, hosted by Ochsner Health Systems in partnership with GE Healthcare, will take place on Thursday.

Friday, March 27th: The Big Idea

The Big Idea, the culmination of NOEW, is a crowd-sourced pitch extravaganza that will feature 12 of New Orleans’ most promising startup ventures and a celebrity-judging panel. NOLA.com will be hosting an online voting platform to help identify the 12 Big Idea finalists, beginning February 23rd.  The entire community is invited to attend.