New Orleans the Next Silicon Mecca? Who would Have Ever Guessed?
Everyone knows that I like to brag about this great City. We are known for so much history and tradition. But who would have ever guessed that this great city would join the vanguard of technology, entrepreneurship and advancement we used to reserve for California? And yet, there is a surge going on here that is totally new.
We are a 300 Hundred Year Old institution, this is the city of Jazz and great food….but now it is poised to do the unthinkable….
Who would have ever guessed that our streets, many filled with beautiful empty building would give rise to a place now known as Bayou Silicon? Go figure….
Katrina was a horrible experience to us all. No doubt about it. We lost lives and we lost talent. But we never lost hope. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of New Orleans lay wasted underneath flood waters; at least 400,000 area residents were displaced. A recent census tells us that at least 140,000 residents are yet to return after Katrina. In spite of all that, we are moving forward and moving strong.
New Orleans recently hosted an event know as New Orleans Entrepreneur Week — NOEW. According to a recent article in Marketplace,(you´ll find the link below.) “The organizers claim 3,000 energetic, well-caffeinated attendees, up from 1,000 just two years ago; it’s part conference, part investment negotiation, part Mardi Gras-style festival, the kind of event where advice on exit strategies is delivered and the phrase “entrepreneurial ecosystem” is consistently invoked, repetition turning the words into something like a conjuration”.
What we have here in New Orleans, is a population that prefers to stay here than to leave, so I think that we are a natural for any startup company that want to grow in a place where employees are happy and fulfilled. After Katrina, a new sort of “New Orleanian” began to arrive to our city. Better educated, more ambitious, technically savvy and looking for a way to grow and get ahead. When they arrived, they found a city ripe for change.
Our new residents are young and creative….
The recent NOWE Convention featured 42 New Orleans-based startups.
New Orleans Silicon Bayou is poised to receive the next big startup company that will bring to our area the fame provided to other great cities by companies that dared to dream big. But we have The Idea Village, a nonprofit startup incubator and accelerator,-that not only organized NOEW, but also gives the startups an opportunity. According to the Article in Marketplace Economy linked below, the city has implemented generous tax discounts that brought GE Capital into the city to develop software and mobile apps. GE has joined other local outfits such as 3D modeler TurboSquid and Kickboard, which builds software for teachers.
New Orleans is ready to bring in a new spirit of entrepreneurship; by we are not like to change at our core. We are a city of fun….Work Hard and Play Hard. Mardi Gras will continue to rule for two weeks out of the year. Rex and Zulu will continue to role on the morning of Fat Tuesday. What will change will be the refurbished old sectioned of the city that will be home to new families and new businesses…..
Call me a dreamer, but dreaming is what this nation is all about. You got to believe you can do it and then you got to work hard to get it done!
Welcome to the New Orleans!