In recent years, New Orleans has been touted for its growing tech scene, which continues to strengthen as more entrepreneurs, developers, and digital media companies, both renowned and newly formed, establish themselves in the city. This progress has been possible with help from tax credits, strong leadership, and a supportive and inviting business community.
In true New Orleans fashion, the technology industry is continuously being feted with local conferences, weekends, weeks, festivals, expos, and panels. Not to mention the cornucopia of entrepreneurial events that integrate technology-related components into their schedules as well.
I’m one of the strongest advocates around for all things entrepreneurial and tech in New Orleans, but I have to admit that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of events that celebrate both. So, when I received word on October’s upcoming NOLATechWeek, I wondered what might make this new event stand out in its inaugural year.
I’ve made a list for anyone asking the same thing.
It’s not just for techies
While the focus of the week is centered around — you guessed it – technology, it’s not necessarily created solely for the city’s programmers and those fluent in C++ coding. The idea is to get those who are not typically involved in the ambitious tech scene to start having a conversation about how technology impacts the city, businesses and our daily lives. Even those of us who go into system failure at the sight of error 404 notices can’t escape the amount of influence technology has on us, so we might as well start to embrace it.
Opportunity to connect technology across a diverse spectrum of disciplines
Event partners include New Orleans CityBusiness, Greater New Orleans Inc., the Idea Village, BioDistrict New Orleans, Launch Pad, 4.0 Schools, Propeller, New Orleans Video Access Center and the City of New Orleans, so this brings a variety of angles, minds, and perceptions into the mix for NOLATech Week. As prominent local organizations that depend on technology as a tool for their own economic growth and prosperity, each partner contributes its own strengths and expertise on cultivating the industry to create a comprehensive event.
Scheduled events are hosted by different organizations and experts
Several featured events will be held throughout the week that focus on technology and healthcare, science, government, entertainment, education and nonprofits. These events will be organized and held throughout the city by local businesses and organizations that are experts and at the forefront of innovation, technology, and culture within their field and discipline. It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn about new industries, businesses, and people from the greater New Orleans area.
Variety of events
You should find something that suits you, no matter how involved or uninvolved you want to be. The week’s events will include panels, discussions, speakers, meetups, demonstrations, social gatherings, expos, pitches, and hackathons.
The citywide event aims to include the entire New Orleans community
New Orleans recently has been host to several national technology conferences — including this week’s LinuxCon North America, as well as Pubcon, health IT’s HIMSS13, and Microsoft Convergence 2013 earlier this year. The lineup of national conferences not only showcases the city as a new technology mecca, but also brings economic benefits to the region. NOLATech Week aims to make similar connections by bringing together the community, technology and a spectrum of disciplines and industries.
NOLATech Week is an opportunity to pay it forward
The week’s festivities are organized, funded and crafted by individuals and organizations in the community. All events are free to the public, although a $5 donation is encouraged for those feeling a little generous. All proceeds will be donated to a charity to be selected by those who attend the closing party on October 12.
So, like what you hear? Here are a few of my event picks. Check the calendar daily for the latest event updates.
Tuesday, October 8, 6 pm – 8 pm at The Rusty Nail
Crowdfunding is a new trend that helps artists and entrepreneurs seek funders for their projects through an online platform. Websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have been successful in launching several businesses and helping artists turn their ideas into reality. FundDat is a local startup that does just that, but only for projects that are created in or about New Orleans. At FundDat’s affair, the virtual world of crowdfunding becomes reality, giving 10 featured launch projects the opportunity to present their projects to the audience. The first 100 people to register will have the opportunity to contribute FundDat dollars toward their favorite project.
Wednesday, October 9, 8pm – 10pm at The Rusty Nail
Networking can sometimes be awkward and overwhelming, much like dating, so Women in Tech (WIT) is hosting a speed networking event in the courtyard at The Rusty Nail to make it a little less intimidating. The facilitated networking session will give attendees the opportunity to meet and talk to the local movers and shakers in technology, who you might not otherwise be connected to.
The event is open to people of all genders and industries.
Presented by: Propeller with an introduction by Colin Grussing, serial entrepreneur and founder of 52Businesses.com.
Thursday, October 10, 7pm – 10 pm at Propeller
This is not your typical panel about failing successfully or how one mistake can lead to a revelation of sorts. While we all love those stories, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, failure is just failure. However, it’s always encouraging to hear that it happens to some of the most successful people in entrepreneurship.
At the event, a panel of six highly successful entrepreneurs will discuss their biggest failures for a compelling and educational discussion that will explore their mindset at the time, lessons for how they could have avoided their mistakes, and the lessons they learned that eventually led them to success. Panelists include John Clarke, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs; James “Jim” DuBos, Chief Technology Officer of Transformyx and founder of nine technology companies; Kerry W. Kirby, founder of 365 Connect; founder of Lloyd Marketing Group, Lisa Lloyd; and Andrew Yang of Venture for America will be conferencing in via Skype.
The event will include food, drinks, a roasted pig, and yours truly as the moderator.
NOLATech Week is October 7-12, 2013. The events are being added and updated frequently, so be sure to check thecalendar daily for the latest.