Urban Fold

Restarting New Orleans With Startups

In town for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, Zak Stone reports on New Orleans' attempts to repopulate the city with the creative class.

"Welcome to your blank canvas," read signs around town. Still suffering population and property loss, New Orleans recently kicked off "entrepreneurship season", nine months of competitions, workshops and networking events in an effort to attract a new kind of business. Traditionally, cities looking to grow jobs and industry will court big companies. New Orleans, however, is looking at the other end of the spectrum with hopes of capturing the next big company in it's infancy.

The city was already ripe for entrepreneurship but Katrina catapulted it to a new level, points out Tim Williamson, cofounder and CEO of The Idea Village. "Movements can scale for two reasons: a disaster or an opportunity. In our case it happened to be a disaster," says Williamson.

Arnold Baker, chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce describes the sense of neccessity that drove many of the early startups: "Many people who probably would not have been entrepreneurial beforehand were forced into a spirit of entrepreneurialism just for survival."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

Full Story: Let the Right Ones In

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