Study Finds Entrepreneurship a Key Component of Economic Growth and Recovery in New Orleans

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC) released their annual report on recovery in the region after Hurricane Katrina. The study, “The New Orleans Index at Six: Measuring Greater New Orleans Progress Toward Prosperity,” cited entrepreneurship as a major factor in regional growth.

Prior to 2005, New Orleans was experiencing a downward trend in individuals starting businesses. That statistic changed drastically after Hurricane Katrina. During 2008-10, on average, 427 out of every 100,000 adults started up businesses annually in the New Orleans metro area, compared with 333 out of every 100,000 adults nationally and 281 out of every 100,000 adults in “weak city” metro peers.

Source: THE NEW ORLEANS INDEX AT SIX: Measuring Greater New Orleans’ Progress Toward Prosperity

Based on the data gathered GNOCDC concluded, “Entrepreneurship is an important ‘bright spot’ for the New Orleans economy.”  Another key metric of economic growth was “Innovation” – which is measured nationally according to patent applications. New Orleans still lags both the national average and “weak city” metros in patent applications, with only 21 applications per 100,000 people. The report clarifies this metric, stating, “Though innovation is notoriously difficult to measure, the number of patent applications is often used as a rough proxy for innovation because it specifically indicates the level at which people are seeking intellectual property protection for their innovative ideas.”

“Greater New Orleans continues to recover and in some ways is rebuilding “better than before” with emerging signs of a healthier economy, better social outcomes, and improved schools and basic services.” – The New Orleans Index at Six

Organizations and groups such as Idea Village, GNO, Inc., Launchpad Ignition,  SENO, and more have been key drivers of entrepreneurship and innovative growth in Greater New Orleans. Additionally, state initiatives such as the digital media tax credit and angel investor tax credit have encouraged new and transplant businesses as well as the growth of start-up funding in the region.

Overall, the study results are promising for the city and show a marked improvement in economic activity Post-Katrina. The full report published in collaboration with the Brookings Institute is available for download here.