New Orleanian Kevin Wilkins is the founder and Managing Director of trepwise, an impact consulting firm that focuses on providing critical services for organizations using entrepreneurial thinking and approaches.
Amazingly, he and his team have worked with over 400 organizations in New Orleans. So how do they do it?
Wilkins moved to New Orleans in 2011 and immediately became involved with the entrepreneurial community. He served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence and COO for The Idea Village as well as helping to develop Propeller’s entrepreneur curriculum.
“I was thrilled to see the many outstanding resources for early stage entrepreneurs,” Wilkins shared. “Once an organization gains traction it reaches a point that it no longer qualifies for these free services. However, many of these same organizations need help getting to the next stage of growth.”
Wilkins wondered where these companies go for support. How do they capitalize on their success and obtain their growth trajectory? Where is there real experience that can help them?
“That is where I saw my company coming in to fill a gap,” he explained.
Through his work with the New Orleans entrepreneurial community, Wilkins discovered this gap in the market and decided to launch a company to help entrepreneurs with that next step.
trepwise has worked with both for profit and nonprofit organizations at any stage of development. The company is industry agnostic, they have a broad set of skills and experiences that can be applied to any industry. Wilkins explains their process as thinking there is not one right answer for everyone, so they instead apply past experiences to find the right answer for the specific situation or client.
Clients include Liberty’s Kitchen, Arts Council New Orleans, Sucre, Crescent City Veterinary Hospital, zlien, and Tales of the Cocktail, among the hundreds of others.
The company’s service offerings fall into three primary categories in relation to these typical roles: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer. trepwise also provides executive coaching and facilitation services for strategic planning sessions.
Wilkins says that trepwise meets companies where they are and work alongside them. “Whether it is developing the brand, building the financial model, implementing a performance management system or facilitating complex meetings to gain alignment across diverse constituent groups – we achieve impact.”
Additionally, Wilkins believes that the entrepreneurial community in New Orleans is growing rapidly, and next area for growth is investment.
New Orleans has already been named the #1 brain magnet by Forbes and the #2 best city for women in technology by SmartAsset.com. Although the accolades keep rolling in, Wilkins wants to make sure the city remains an investible asset.
“In order to make New Orleans an investible asset you need to attract local and national money,” said Wilkins. “To get national money, you first need local money investing into these companies.” That will spur the national investment.
Over the next five years, he sees the entrepreneurial community continuing to produce companies shifting from the early stage to the growth stage. “The community will become broader and deeper across many sectors and these companies will have real traction.”