Thirteen years after the Idea Village was founded, over one hundred global leaders gathered for the 2013 Entrepreneur Ecosystem Summit at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week to discuss the city’s growing ecosystem. Maintaining an entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneurship as an agent of change, entrepreneurship in a 21st century economy, and what New Orleans will look like on its 300th birthday were all discussed.
Entrepreneur Week is now ten times the size of its inaugural event. In addition to the packed room at Gallier Hall for the Summit, over 1,000 entrepreneurs are participating in NOEW, sharing ideas and learning throughout the week.
Idea Village co-founders Tim Williamson and Robbie Vitrano acted as the Masters of Ceremonies for the Entrepreneur Ecosystem Summit. A few days ago, both contributed to a letter written to the Editor of the Times-Picayune explaining the event and its purpose. “We will look upon the occasion of our city’s tricentennial in 2018 to not only envision our future, but to design it,” they said.
The global leaders who participated in the Entrepreneur Ecosystem Summit included: Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Patricia Greene, Professor at Babson and Academic Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses; Greg Galle, Executive Producer of Future; Bridgette Sexton Beam, Global Entrepreneurship Manager, Google; Amy Stursberg, Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation; Matt Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Economic Development Association; Lisa Hagerman, Director of Programs, DBL Investors; Eyal Lifschitz, CEO and Co-founder, Peregrine Ventures; Jamie Naughton, Speaker of the House, Zappos; Ben Powell, Founder and CEO, Agora Partnerships; Scott Shickler, CEO, Excent; Bral Spight, Executive Director – Chicago, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses; and Derek Thompson, Senior Editor, The Atlantic.
After tragedy comes clarity and rebirth. Post Katrina, New Orleans is showing the country what it looks like when people come together to fix old problems in new ways. The city is an economic engine of entrepreneurship, according to Mayor Landrieu. Whether in education, healthcare, or technology, New Orleans is experiencing a new wave and a reorganization that, “happened because of the entrepreneurial spirit.”
Walter Isaacson proposed a third wave of entrepreneurship in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu said, “we had a first wave and we had a second wave…obviously we can have a third.” He continued, “we have the opportunity to create that which should’ve always been.”
What will the future of New Orleans entrepreneurship look like? Mayor Landrieu believes we are all in the most exciting place in America right now. The city is fast approaching its 300th anniversary with entrepreneurship and technology leading the way. By 2018, he believes there will be a number of Fortune 500 companies based here and startups will be selling for $1B.
Patricia Greene explained the importance of the quality of opportunity in regards to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city. She said the ecosystem must go beyond just a network of resources and the brand of entrepreneurship in New Orleans must be explosive. Additionally, and most importantly, entrepreneurship here must identify opportunities, organize resources, and create something of value.
The Entrepreneur Ecosystem Summit challenged the movers and shakers in New Orleans and beyond to invest in the city, advance the ecosystem and make it a world-class place for entrepreneurship.