This letter to the editor originally appeared on nola.com in preparation for the sixth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
New Orleans has received significant recognition for its entrepreneurial efforts – and a recent study by the Brookings Institution documented that we are outpacing the rest of the nation with entrepreneurial activity (the actual number of startups per capita) 56 percent above the national average. Because of the collective efforts of many in the community, New Orleans has been named the No. 1 Brain Magnet in the Country, No. 3 Best City for Tech Jobs, and No. 1 City for In-Migration by Forbes and the “Coolest Startup City in America” by Inc.com.
Some ask if the success is real. They wonder how our city can reach this level of achievement without the kind of infrastructure found in places like Silicon Valley. What is our competitive advantage? I think the answer can be found in our annual cultural seasons: Mardi Gras season, festival season, Saints season and even hurricane season.
New Orleans is simply better at connecting. Maybe the best. We organize ourselves around seasons — around rituals. There’s a rhythm to the way we come together as a community, and our seasons are the platform for the rituals.
This week (March 22-28) kicks off the sixth-annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), the culmination of a nine-month entrepreneur season that strategically engages a dynamic global network of founders, partners, corporations, universities, investors and professionals to help startups launch in New Orleans.
Over the next seven days, you will witness firsthand why the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem is one of the most engaged in the world, with 80 events open to each and every local entrepreneur. These events range from one-on-one entrepreneur counseling sessions to specialized workshops on legal and marketing practices to pitch sessions. This year, more than 19 local organizations are connecting at NOEW to showcase more than 70 local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries.
If you want to see the movement for yourself, I encourage you to join us for the grand finale of NOEW 2014, The Big Idea, at Manning’s on Fulton Street at 5 p.m. Friday, March 28. This is the world’s largest crowd-driven pitch event, where the entrepreneurial community connects, young, old and everyone in between, New Orleans-style.
We will not be the next San Francisco or the next New York. We will be the next New Orleans and show the world how to connect through entrepreneurship – with rhythm and rituals. Get into the rhythm.
Co-founder and CEO
The Idea Village