By Halle Kaplan-Allen, NOEW Marketing Intern at The Idea Village.
New Orleans has always been known for its’ unique culture and lifestyle. But recently, the Crescent City has been drawing attention for more than its cuisine and laissez fare attitude. New Orleans has become a hub for entrepreneurship. And while the city has been recognized as the ideal business climate for any type of company, certain industries are beginning to stand out. From education, to arts and entertainment, these are six of the fastest growing industries in New Orleans.
Because it provides an ideal combination of culture, cost of living, and opportunities for monetary breaks, New Orleans has become a competitive digital media hub. Louisiana offers significant tax incentives (up to 35%) for digital media, software development, and audio recording companies, and in the past few years, the state’s digital media industry growth has significantly passed the national rate, according to the New Orleans Business Alliance. Some notable, local digital media companies include Storyville, a post-production film and audio studio, Bayou FX, a visual effects studio, iSeatz, a technology company that allows travelers to make multiple bookings at once, and TurboSquid, an online marketplace for 3D images.
New Orleans is experiencing major growth in the healthcare industry, specifically in neuroscience, rehabilitative wellness, infectious diseases, and translational medicine. Healthcare innovation in New Orleans can be partially attributed to a large concentration of academic institutions. Health services are also the third largest industry in the city, with annual wages significantly above the overall average wage. In 2005, the state allocated funding for the 1,500-acre “BioDistrict New Orleans,” an area dedicated to development of biosciences, quality healthcare delivery, and stable jobs in the medical industry. The construction of three new hospitals is underway: the LSU hospital, Veterans Administration hospital, and the Tulane-LSU Cancer Research Center, which are expected to collectively create six thousand jobs and an estimated $1.26 billion in annual economic impact. Additionally, the Crescent City Beacon Community initiative started with the mission of improving the accountability, efficiency, and quality of health in the Greater New Orleans community by using health information technology. Notable local, healthcare companies include Bioceptive, a women’s health company developing innovative medical devices for gynecological procedures, and Better Day Health, hands-free software that automates and streamlines clinical & surgical documentation and billing.
Food is undoubtedly a core part of New Orleans’ rich culture. But this industry is by no means just rooted in the past. In fact, the city is experiencing unprecedented growth when it comes to food innovation. In addition to the numerous health food stores and restaurants that have popped up within the past year, the city is home to the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, an incubator for food and farm entrepreneurs, and soon to come is the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute. Dinner Lab, a startup that offers food lovers a pop-up dining experience that features up and coming chefs, is based in New Orleans, and has since expanded to over twenty cities. And most recently, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, a museum dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink, and culture of the South opened its doors in New Orleans.
Over the past ten years, New Orleans has seen a tremendous boost in industries such as nuclear and wind power, coastal restoration, biofuels, water management, and solar energy. The state provides a 50% refundable tax credit to homeowners that utilize solar energy-and companies like PosiGen and Joule Solar Energy make sustainable energy more accessible to middle and low income homeowners by leasing solar panels. Companies such as The ReGen Group and New Orleans Zero Design Energy are making construction projects more sustainable using innovations in lighting, structure, heating and cooling, and water usage.
Arts & Entertainment
New Orleans has been dubbed “Hollywood South,” and that’s because in the past few years, the city’s film industry production has surpassed that of both Los Angeles and New York, according toNOLA.com. This can be partially attributed to the 25% tax credit on all production expenses, as well as a number of ideal shooting locations throughout the city. In 2014, the film and television industry contributed $813 million to the local economy and created tens of thousands of jobs, according to ABCNews. New Orleans is also home to several well-known music festivals including Jazz Fest, Voodoo Fest, Buku Fest, French Quarter Fest, and Essence Fest. Ask a local, and they’ll tell you that there might be more festivals in New Orleans than there are days in the year! The city is home to a number of growing arts and entertainment based startups too including, Where Y’Art, an online gallery for local artists, and Secondline stages, the first independent and completely green film studio in the country.
In 2014, New Orleans became the first school district in the country with all of its students in charter schools, earning it a title as an innovator in education, according to NPR. New Orleans is also home to 4.0 Schools, an education incubator for entrepreneurs and educators working to find innovative solutions for challenges in education. Since 2010, the organization has launched over 40 projects to help empower students, promote literacy, and provide research opportunities. Welcome to College, an online platform that helps students navigate the college selection process, and Young Scholars, a program that supports homeschooling families through a curriculum focused on support, accountability and community both came through 4.0.