New Orleans has a longstanding reputation as a party city, host to Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, but did you know it is also a city with a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem?
In fact, The Data Center ranked the rate of entrepreneurship in New Orleans 64 percent higher than the national average from 2011-2013. Greater New Orleans, Inc., the city’s regional economic development organization, compiles an ongoing list of awards and rankings for New Orleans and Louisiana. Forbes ranked the city as the #1 Brain Magnet in America. And Business Facilities ranked Louisiana with the #1 Business Climate, in the country.
But behind the buzzwords and business awards is a fun and vibrant community of entrepreneurs. So, what’s the best way to meet them and get tapped into entrepreneurial events in New Orleans? Here are four tips:
- Get Connected
Participating in networking groups, business associations and informal meetups are all great ways to network and meet other like-minded individuals. Suggestions include: joining the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, attending the monthly NOLA Meetup, or grabbing a drink at Capdeville (a longtime local watering hole for those in tech and entrepreneurship in town). Newsletters are always a great way to get a quick snapshot of upcoming events. Sign up for the weekly Silicon Bayou email or 504Ward to stay in the loop.
- Take a Class
Whether you think entrepreneurs are born or bred, there’s always more to learn. Now more than ever, it’s easy to find free online courses on topics on everything from designing to business plan to front-end web development. If you prefer learning in a classroom, check out Delgado Community College or coding bootcamps at local coding schools Operation Spark and Tech Talent South.
- Attend a Conference
New Orleans has its fair share of conferences. One of our top recommendations is New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the “Mardi Gras of entrepreneurship,” which kicks off on March 19. The second is Collision Conference, the fastest growing tech conference in the world scheduled for the May 2-4. Both events provide an opportunity to connect with business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and movers and shakers in the entrepreneurial landscape in New Orleans and beyond.
A great way to collaborate with entrepreneurs is through co-working spaces in New Orleans. Some are more tailored to specific industries or types of businesses, but most spaces welcome anyone interested in working in a shared environment. Social entrepreneurs will feel right at home at the Propeller Incubator, while Launch Pad has a range of companies from tech startups to law firms in their downtown office. If you’re looking for something on the other side of town, check out The Warehouse, a recently opened coworking space in the Bywater neighborhood.
trepwise, an impact-focused consulting firm, regularly publishes helpful tips and tricks for entrepreneurs through a series called Trep Tip. Read them all here.