What is New Orleans Entrepreneur Week?
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, or NOEW (pronounced “no-ee”), as it’s called, is a week-long celebration of local business and entrepreneurship organized by The Idea Village, a nonprofit business incubator and accelerator. For those unfamiliar, a business accelerator basically works to take a small idea and turn it into a viable venture that has the potential to generate revenue. Sometimes it works and a lot of the times an idea fails to get traction, but the goal of an accelerator is to provide a smoother runway for aspiring business owners.
NOEW, which occurs in March every year wedged between Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, features business pitch competitions -- where local startups share their concept on stage and compete for money -- as well as seminars, panels and keynote talks that deal with a range of topics, from how to market an idea to projections for the next gadget or tech service that will change our world.
Full disclosure, Tim Williamson, president of NOLA Media Group, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune’s parent, founded and helmed The Idea Village from 2000 to 2016, when he left to take on his current gig. But we’ve been writing about NOEW well before Tim joined the team. Read our coverage of the week’s first-ever Water Challenge event from back in 2011.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive
Who goes to New Orleans Entrepreneur Week?
Quite a few people, actually. Last year, The Idea Village estimates 14,266 people attended NOEW events from March 19-24. Among those folks were more than 215 speakers and representatives from 199 startup ventures, 51 sponsors and event partners, and 16 national investment firms. In addition, local startups got nearly $483,000 in cash and in-kind donations, like legal and marketing services.
The crowd at these kinds of conferences has a tendency to skew young, male and white, though in recent years NOEW has been working hard to include more people from diverse backgrounds. Last year, roughly half of the companies that participated in NOEW were women-owned businesses. Acrew, an employee screening software startup run by Crystal McDonald, an African-American woman, beat others to win $100,000 at the week’s toughest and most high-profile pitch.
What's in store for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2018? Here’s what we know so far.
Photo by Dinah Rogers, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is (still) free.
As in the past, NOEW events are free and open to the public to attend this year, though attendees do have to register. Organizers are urging 2018 attendees to register ahead of time online.
Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week turns 10 this year.
This year’s event will be the 10th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. In addition to celebrating its own anniversary, organizers are giving a nod to New Orleans’ 300th birthday with this year’s theme and slogan: “Connect in a City Like No Other.”
In the photo above, Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, CEO and President of Chobani, speaks during the 5th New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at Gallier Hall March 20, 2013.