WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.
Founding partners Allen Bell, Sally Forman, Sam Giberga, Darin McAuliff, Michele Reynoir, Tim Williamson and Robbie Vitrano were at the Loa Bar. They were discussing ways to reverse decades of economic and social decline in New Orleans that began with the oil bust in the 1970s, followed by decades of political corruption, poor education, and high crime rates that led to over 40,000 25-35 year olds leaving the state in the 1990s.
These founders looked at these collective challenges and saw entrepreneurship as the agent of change needed to reverse the downward trend. Each of them pitched-in to launch a business plan competition with low expectations of participation. Much to their surprise, hundreds of applications flooded in. The winner of the self-named Loa Group’s business plan competition received a prize package of cash and in-kind services worth over $125,000.
Thus was born a movement that became The Idea Village.
THE LOA GROUP
The Idea Village is conceived on a napkin by founding partners, Allen Bell, Sally Forman, Sam Giberga, Darin McAuliffe, Michele Reynoir, Tim Williamson, Robbie Vitrano, at the Loa Bar. Petro Designs wins the self-named Loa Group’s business plan competition and receives a prize package of cash and in-kind services worth over $125,000.
The Idea Village formalizes as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, sets up shop in Trumpet Advertising, and launches its first business accelerator program.
CATALYZING AN ECOSYSTEM
The Idea Village launches “Roundtables” to discuss strategies for building an ecosystem in partnership with Pan American Life and GNO, Inc.
The Idea Village’s first entrepreneur cohort program launches as ACE, just before Hurricane Katrina hits in August.
REBUILDING NEW ORLEANS
The Idea Village launches IDEAcorps, an experiential learning program for top MBAs, in partnership with Tulane, to help businesses rebuild post-Katrina.
The Idea Village introduces Strategic Industry Challenges to seed startups in emerging local industries.
The Idea Village teams up with GNO, Inc. and local real estate developer Brian Gibbs to transform the McGlinchey Stafford law firm in the heart of downtown New Orleans into The IP or Intellectual.
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week begins as the “IDEAcorps Challenge”, engaging MBAs and corporate volunteers from across the country.
INTRODUCING IDEAx & COULTER IDEApitch
The Idea Village launches IDEAx to support the best new New Orleans startups, introduces New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), and teams up with Jim Coulter of TPG Capital to host the Coulter IDEApitch for local companies seeking venture capital.
The Idea Village launches IDEAinstitute to engage and connect the general community.
The addition of IDEAsessions allows for deeper support of more ventures during the Season, and The Big Idea allows for broad community engagement during NOEW, a tipping point for the movement. Power Pitch is also unveiled, connecting startups with angel investors.
GROWTH THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
NOEW outgrows The IP building and all public programming is moved to and hosted at Gallier Hall. A focus on growth through partnerships solidifies the NOEW platform as a powerful tool for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Idea Village launches the New Bienville Society, an initiative focused on scaling the New Orleans renaissance by engaging expats with indelible ties to the city, with Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, and Jim Coulter, Founding Partner of TPG Capital.
A NEW HOME FOR NOEW
NOEW moves its headquarters over to Fulton Street in downtown New Orleans, with select, sanctioned events taking place around the region. Closed to drive-through traffic, the Fulton Street festival grounds give attendees their pick of places to continue networking before and after sessions.
A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week achieves record attendance and positions itself a critical asset for New Orleans’ future.
NOLA IS THE HUB OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE SOUTH
Our Vision: New Orleans is ranked as a top 10 entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the 10th annual NOEW is a signature event during the City’s five-month tri-centennial celebration.
NEW LEADERSHIP NEW CHAPTER
The Idea Village core accelerator shifts to focus on innovative high-growth ventures and joins the selective GAN community which represents the top accelerators around the world.