The following post is an exploration into the benefits of doing business in Louisiana. The post was written by the editorial team at InterNations, the largest social network catering to over 900,000 expats working and living abroad. For more information, click here.
For people making up their mind and relocating to the USA, there are two main driving factors which lead them to their decision – either they are following the call of a tempting career opportunity, or they are following the call of the American dream. In the former case, expats can (and do) end up in any number of places, depending on their area of expertise and sector they are employed in. It is actually the latter case which, bafflingly, leads the great majority of self-made expats to a rather limited number of places along the coasts, particularly of course into the cities that have gained worldwide recognition as “places to be”. However, unbeknownst to many expats, there are attractive regions for up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to start a business abroad that can very well prove to be a much better alternative. In the past years, Louisiana has achieved just that – a veritable hotspot for young startup companies.
Paving the Way for Modern Business Ventures
Success stories abound in Louisiana. Take, for example, the Greater New Orleans Region. It was able to emerge from the devastation and chaos left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, successfully attracting a large number of new businesses and investments during the years of reconstruction. The region not only got back to positive economic growth, but also established itself as one of the emerging destinations for new businesses. Today, New Orleans boasts a large community of startups, many of which have already reached profitability and made names for themselves, and a number of non-profit organizations helping to sustain this spirit of innovation and venture.
One of the main factors in the rejuvenation of the economy not only of New Orleans, but the state of Louisiana, was certainly the introduction of the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, which offers companies in the respective sectors huge tax credits (up to 35%), thus considerably lowering the cost of starting a new tech company. And not only companies themselves get to enjoy tax credits, but investors as well – thanks to the Angel Investor Tax Credit, which investors can apply for until July 2015, more people have been encouraged to infuse young, promising companies with the necessary startup money.
The Rise of the IT and Media Startups
For the reasons mentioned above, the information, media, and technology sectors in particular are in full bloom. Here, the Crescent City was able to achieve an impressive 28% increase between 2009 and 2012, placing it right behind information hotbeds Silicon Valley and San Francisco in terms of information jobs. It’s not only companies in the IT branch that opt for New Orleans – with its history and reputation as one of the most artistically inclined and inspirational cities in the U.S., many creative minds working in the digital media sector have found a home here, including video game developers, digital effects companies, and the film industry. Needless to say, New Orleans also continues to be one of the best cities in the US for musicians and sound engineers – you just cannot escape the cultural heritage that pervades the Big Easy.
This leads to another huge asset of New Orleans, and really much of the rest of Louisiana. You will be hard pressed to find another place in the USA that offers all the upsides of big city life – a vast array of cultural events catering to any taste and the availability of sustainable (and well-paying) jobs are just two examples – with so few of the downsides. Tired of long commutes to work and of disproportionate rents and high cost of living? Those are problems that will affect you to a much lesser degree here.
More than “Just” New Orleans
Singling out the Greater New Orleans Region would not do Louisiana’s full potential justice. Lafayette and Baton Rouge are almost every bit as promising in all regards mentioned above, both making it into the 2013 Forbes top ten list of mid-sized US cities with biggest momentum and job growth. If you are interested in creating an IT business in the US, you should definitely keep those two names in mind.
To sum up: If you are looking for just the right spot to open up your new tech or information business and profit not only from very favorable economic and infrastructural factors, but also from positive synergies with other young startup companies, Louisiana might just be right for you!