The Idea Village Releases Record-Breaking Entrepreneur Season Impact Report

The Idea Village, a hub for entrepreneurship and producers of the annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, announced yesterday the record-breaking numbers tied to the nine-month cycle of programs and events known as the Entrepreneur Season.

The 2014 Entrepreneur Season culminated with the 6th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at Gallier Hall.

The 2014 Entrepreneur Season culminated with the 6th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at Gallier Hall.

Over the 2014 season (July 2013 – March 2014), The Idea Village engaged 6,104 of the nation’s most innovative professionals, business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, MBAs, and high school students through 222 workshops, consulting sessions, pitch competitions, and networking events.

The number of individuals reportedly engaged represents a 103% increase compared to last year, and the ever-expanding network is responsible for investing $2,262,655 in capital, consulting, and resources to support the efforts of 834 New Orleans-based entrepreneurs.

“In a city known for connecting around seasonal rhythms and rituals, the Entrepreneur Season model leverages our unique competitive assets to create a sustainable entrepreneur support system,” said Tim Williamson, Co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village. “Everyone has a role, whether they are an entrepreneur, an investor, a professional, a governmental leader, a university student, a high school student, or a civic activist.”

The local entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving in part due to the organization’s direct support to over 3,400 entrepreneurs since 2009. The season concluded with a community favorite: New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) and The Big Idea, dubbed the world’s largest crowdfunding event.

NOEW bought together 5,209 individuals through more than 138 innovative events in downtown New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. The Idea Village also partnered with 26 organizations that helped showcase 70 local ventures throughout the week. As a result, 38 ventures collectively received $240,644 in startup capital.

“New Orleans knows that entrepreneurship is vital to moving our City forward,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I am pleased that the annual Entrepreneur Season continues to scale locally by engaging critical local industries like water, education, tourism, and arts.”

Below is the full breakdown of the season by the numbers, including key programs held during the 2014 Entrepreneur Season:

The Idea Village led the following initiatives:

  • The 5th IDEAxcelerator (IDX) consisted of an intensive 11-week consulting program for high-growth entrepreneurs. The 2014 cohort included: 4D Supplements, Athletic Performance Testing, Cajun Fire Brewing Company, CultureConnect, Direct Diagnostics, IMOTO Real Estate Photography, KREWE du optic, Maritant,, mSchool, MobileQubes, Munivestor, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mike Eckert led the 2014 IDX program.
  • IDEAsessions are 90-minute strategy sessions connecting local entrepreneurs with seasoned executives. During the 2014 Season, The Idea Village provided IDEAsessions to 121 ventures led by mentors Gary Harrell, Lisa Lloyd, Chris Mangum, Carol Markowitz, J. Anthony Miguez, Doug Walner, and Kevin Wilkins.
  • The Idea Village’s educational platform, including IDEAinstitute and NOEW, is a series of workshops, panels, keynotes, and networking events covering the gamut of topics relevant to entrepreneurs and those interested in building an entrepreneurial skillset. 1,849 unique individuals attended 126 sessions this year.
  • The inaugural Demo Day @ NOEW connected select local entrepreneurs with the local angel community. This year featured 6 entrepreneurs including: APMT, education everytime, IMOTO Real Estate Photography, Maritant, MobileQubes, and Your Nutrition Delivered.
  • The 5th Coulter IDEApitch showcased select high-growth local ventures to a panel of national venture capitalists and audience of local leaders.  2014 featured ventures included: Dinner Lab, mSchool, and zlien. zlien won a customized, all-expenses-paid trip out to Silicon Valley.
  • The 3rd Big Idea, presented by IBERIABANK, engaged 2,500 people to allocate $83,300 across 13 emerging local startups. Cajun Fire Brewing Company won the judges’ vote and received $54,300 in startup grant capital. The other new ventures that split the remaining $29,000 included: 4D Supplements, Athletic Performance Testing, Bats on Tees, BitBike, CultureConnect, FundDat, iSeeChange, KREWE du optic, Locally Preserved, MakerState, Threadix, and Where Y’
  • The inaugural NOEW Board of Advisors Meeting connected leading national venture capital investors with select Idea Village alumni. This year, participating local entrepreneurs included: Audiosocket, Better Day Health, Bioceptive, ChapterSpot, Cordina, Federated Sample, Kickboard, NOvate Medical Technologies, Theodent, and Tutti Dynamics. Participating investors included representatives from Battery Ventures, Calvert Funds, Charles River Ventures, Denham Capital, Fulcrum Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KBS+ Ventures, Kidron Corporate Advisors & The Kidron Opportunity Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Revolution Ventures, SSM Partners, SVB Financial Group, TDF Ventures, and TPG Capital.
  • The 6th IDEAcorps MBA Challenge, a world-class experiential leaning program for MBA students during NOEW, provided direct consulting to 6 high-growth entrepreneurs. This year, participating universities included: Berkeley, Chicago, Cornell, Loyola, Tulane, and Wharton. The Loyola team won the “impact award” for their consulting work with Cajun Fire Brewing Company.

Partners leveraged the Entrepreneur Season platform in partnership with The Idea Village to host the following initiatives:

  • The 4th Water Challenge identified and supported eight entrepreneurial solutions that apply innovative approaches to how we live with water in Southeast Louisiana. This year, after a rigorous educational boot camp, four finalists, EcoUrban, iSeeChange, ORA Estuaries, and RiverView Construction, were selected to move on to the 2nd phase and pitch for $50,000 in seed capital during NOEW. ORA Estuaries won. The nationally award winning Water Challenge is produced by The Idea Village in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
  • The 3rd 4.0 School’s Education Pitch brought together education entrepreneurs who are building the future of schools and was presented by 4.0 Schools. Grand prize “venture” winner Culture Connect was awarded a total of $12,500. Additionally, #HWYTYYS received $2,500, SMARTSnaps received a $1,220 cash infusion, and MakerState won $6,625.
  • The 2nd Downtown NOLA Arts-Based Business Pitch, a collaborative effort of the Downtown Development District, Creative Alliance of New Orleans, and Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, identified and supported entrepreneurs that have a scalable arts-based project that benefits Downtown New Orleans. Where Y’Art won a prize package valued at over $37,000 in cash and donated professional resources. Others being showcased included: The Creative Lab, CultureConnect, HereHear!, and Matter Inc.
  • The inaugural NOMTC Tourism Destination Hackathon, a 2-day event designed to inspire the creation of frameworks for mobile applications to benefit the New Orleans Tourism industry, was powered by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Eight teams participated and HereHear! won, receiving $1,000 cash prize – as well as gift certificates from the hospitality industry.
  • The 2nd JEDCO Entrepreneur Challenge showcased early-stage Jefferson Parish-based ventures and was presented by Jefferson Economic Development Corporation. PortaVision won a prize package worth almost $80,000 in cash and business services ($20,000 of which was a cash prize from First NBC Bank). Others being showcased included: Advano, Get Healthy, The Collector, and MobileQubes.
  • The 2nd Urban League of Greater New Orleans Women in Business Challenge Pitch provided business education, technical assistance, personalized consulting and mentorship to female business owners and was presented by Urban League of Greater New Orleans. This year, 10 ventures were selected to participate, then five finalists including: Diva Dawg, LLC, I Spa a Deal, LLC, Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles, and ZukaBaby, were showcased during NOEW, where Diva Dawg, LLC won $10,000 in startup grant capital.
  • The inaugural New Orleans Food Challenge was a 9-week program focused on supporting entrepreneurial activity in the food and beverage industry in partnership with Reily Foods Company and Rouses Markets. Locally Preserved, Drinkology, and Sugah were named the winners. Taryn’s Crab Cakes and Creole Crackers also participated and were showcased. The program was led by Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Lisa Lloyd and J. Anthony Miguez.
  • NOMA’s inaugural 3D Printed Design Contest encouraged new forms of production of artwork made possible by 21st-century methods of computer-assisted digital fabrication and was presented by the New Orleans Museum of Art. There were a total of 17 submissions. Shea Trahan won for his design “Nodal Structures,” which will later be displayed at NOMA.
  • Isidore Newman School’s ‘Creative Problem Solving’ 3D Printing Exhibit provided an interactive experience for NOEW participants to explore design thinking and 3D Printing.
  • The inaugural Rosen Technology Fellowship, inspired by Ben Rosen and Roger Ogden, was a business development and mentorship program with the goal of supporting new technology-based entrepreneurial ventures. Partners included: LSU College of Engineering, Louisiana Business & Technology Center, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Step One Ventures, the Louisiana Technology Park, and The Idea Village. Featured LSU-based entrepreneurs included Applied Biopolymers, Cellcontrol, Electrochemical Materials, and Evisive, each of which received a $1,250 grant stipend and professional mentorship.
  • The 3rd Salesforce-Silverline Challenge helped to scale a local venture through process improvement, content management, and sales and marketing support and tracking with free licenses to the Salesforce platform and was presented by Salesforce and Silverline. National Network of Public Health Institutes won.
  • The Tulane Business Model Competition Semi-Final Pitch winners included InVision Biomedical, Million Dollar Scholar, and Tympanogen, who each received $2,000 and had the opportunity to present their business models again at Tulane University on Friday, April 11th, 2014. Tulane University’s Entrepreneur Association (TEA) produced the Tulane Business Model Competition.
  • The inaugural Baldwin Haspel Burke Mayer Challenge provided 25 hours of pro bono legal hours to winner KREWE du optic.
  • The 2nd Chaffe McCall Challenge provided 50 pro bono legal hours to winner Cajun Fire Brewing Company.
  • The 4th Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge was an after-school entrepreneurship program for New Orleans high school students presented by Google for Education in partnership with the Brees Dream Foundation and The Idea Village. Isidore Newman School won $10,000 for their app “Drive with Friends.” Each of the other participating schools, St. Martin’s Episcopal School, St. Augustine High School, Lusher Charter School, Edna Karr High School, Cohen College Prep, and the International High School, received $2,500.
  • The inaugural Junior Idea promoted the next generation of entrepreneurs and is presented by Junior Achievement.  Madison Hannan of Mt. Carmel Academy won $10,000 for her venture, Infinite Designs Clothing. The other participating schools included Archbishop Chapelle High School, Edna Karr High School, Eleanor McMain Secondary School, St. Mary’s Dominican High School, and Warren Easton Charter High School.
  • The 2nd inNOLAvation Challenge inspired teams of New Orleans high school students to develop mobile applications that solve a social issue affecting their community and is presented by inNOLAvation. Algiers Technology Academy won for their app “Help me, Help You”; will receive technical assistance with app development, business planning, legal, accounting, and marketing services. The other participating schools included Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School and Lake Area High School.

During the 2014 Season, participating New Orleans-based entrepreneurs received access to support from the following network:

  • National and Local Investment Funds including representatives from Abstraction Ventures, Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, Calvert Funds, Charles River Ventures, Denham Capital Management, Fulcrum Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KBS+ Ventures, Kidron Corporate Advisors & The Kidron Opportunity Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Orleans Startup Fund, NO/LA Angels, Revolution Ventures, Riverbend Group, Operating Venture Capital, SSM Partners, South Coast Angel Fund, SVB Financial Group, TDF Ventures, and TPG Capital.
  • 50 National and Local Corporations including: Harrah’s, IBERIABANK, Jones Walker, Chase, Coca-Cola, French Market Coffee, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Google, NOLA Media Group, Stone Pigman, Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer, Chaffe McCall, Ernst & Young, Frilot, LLC, King, Krebs, & Jurgens, Limousine Livery, Ochsner, Rouses,, Silverline, UPS, Baker Donelson, Chaffe & Associates, CVB, General Electric, International Matex Tank Terminals, PosiGen, Whole Foods, adverCar, Bond PR, Bradley Murchison, Carrollton Technology, Deveney, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Gambit, Gillis Ellis & Baker, Guico Industries, Hartwig Moss, Idea Paint, iSeatz, KPMG, Kushner LaGraize, Charles Marsala, Mumms Software, Raising Cane’s, Rathborne Companies, Sterne Agee, Trumpet, and Verizon Wireless.
  • Over 200 Professional Network Members, who provided consulting and technical assistance as well as in-kind and discounted resources.
  • 9 National and Local Foundations: Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Galatoire’s Foundation, Goldring Family Foundation, Eugenie & Joseph  Jones Family Foundation, Perkin Family Foundation, City of New Orleans-Edward Wisner Foundation, Ella West Freeman Foundation, and Kabacoff Family Foundation.
  • 36 MBAs from National Universities including: the University of California Haas School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, Loyola University New Orleans College of Business, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Tulane University Freeman School of Business.
  • 22 Seasoned Entrepreneurs, who provided mentorship and support, including: Billy Bosch, Be Well Nutrition; Kirk Coco, NOLA Brewing Company; Patrick Comer, Federated Sample; Joel Dondis, Sucre; Erik Frank, Your Nutrition Delivered; Chris Laibe, StaffInsight; Sal LaMartina, Cordina; Brent McCrossen, AudioSocket; Jen Medbery, Kickboard; Kenneth Purcell, iSeatz; Robbie Vitrano, Naked Pizza; Lovey Wakefield,; Mike Eckert; Gary Harrell; Lisa Lloyd; Chris Mangum; Carol Markowitz; J. Anthony Miguez; Patrick Nguyen; Dann Schwartz; Doug Walner; and Kevin Wilkins.
  • 19 Local Non-Profit Partners, who leveraged the Entrepreneur Season platform, including: 4.0 Schools, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Creative Alliance of New Orleans, Downtown Development District, inNOLAvation, Isidore Newman School,  JEDCO, Junior Achievement, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Startup Fund, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana Business & Technology Center, Louisiana Technology Park, LSU College of Engineering, Propeller, Tulane University, and Urban League of Greater New Orleans.
  • Local and National Professionals and Global Thought Leaders including: Rhonda Abrams, best-selling author and columnist at USA Today; Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints Quarterback, Co-founder of the Brees Dream Foundation, and local entrepreneur; Jim Coulter, Founding Partner of TPG Capital; James Carville, political guru; Hugh Evans, Vice President of Corporate Development & Ventures at 3D Systems; Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of Aspen Institute; Mary Matalin, political guru; Michael Megalli, Senior Director of Brand Strategy at Microsoft; Jeff Pulver, VoIP pioneer and Vonage Co-founder who was also an early investor in Twitter and Foursquare; Ben Rosen, Co-founder of Sevin Rosen Funds and Former Chairman and Acting CEO of Compaq; Maude Standish, Managing Director of Tarot; Amos Winbush III, Founder & CEO of CyberSynchs; and Andrew Yang, Founder & CEO of Venture for America.
  • Government Agencies: Economic Development Administration and Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit.