New Orleans Hosts “Start It Up” National Entrepreneur Summit

New Orleans (PRESS RELEASE – February 27, 2011) – Heeding President Obama’s call to ‘Startup America,’ the nation’s greatest entrepreneurial minds will gather in New Orleans for the 3rd annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), March 19-25, 2011. The event will serve as a manifestation of a movement that is sweeping the globe.

Driven by the entrepreneurial momentum that has fueled the city’s rebirth, NOEW, an initiative of The Idea Village, will feature a unique program of world-class activities including over 45 business workshops, investment pitches, networking events, keynote speeches and interactive discussion sessions. This high-impact week of service, networking and collaboration redefines New Orleans as a laboratory of innovation and a model for national best practices by connecting students, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

“I am thrilled about the potential of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The New Orleans community has come together to support and grow entrepreneurial talent,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Honorary Chair of NOEW 2011.  “NOEW illustrates that New Orleans is a model city for innovation and entrepreneurship. With smart investments in innovation and partnerships like the one we have with The Idea Village, we can set the course for growth and renewal in America.”

Joining The Idea Village as Premier Partners for NOEW are Penny & Jim Coulter, Downtown Development District of New Orleans, Economic Development Administration, Goldman Sachs, Google, Greater New Orleans Foundation, HP, Jones Walker, Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Louisiana Recovery Authority, Kevin Clifford Family, NakedPizza, and Tulane University.

“NOEW is a physical manifestation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that has evolved over the last 10 years in New Orleans,” said Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village. “During this week, New Orleans will engage a global community of change makers to provide direct resources to the local entrepreneurial community, and in doing so position New Orleans at the forefront of what is becoming a national movement.”

The idea behind NOEW was hatched in 2006 when ambitious MBA students seized the opportunity to spend their spring break in New Orleans working with early-stage, high-growth entrepreneurs. In 2009, led by investment from the Economic Development Administration, The Idea Village decided to increase the impact on the community by inviting national and local corporations, universities, investors, and individuals to spend a week in New Orleans. NOEW 2010 brought over 150 of the nation’s top MBA students and corporate volunteers together with 329 local entrepreneurs to provide over 9,121 hours of direct service to entrepreneurs at 37 events throughout downtown New Orleans.

“What initially started as a philanthropic partnership in the wake of Katrina has evolved into a more strategic initiative for the company,” says Tara Canobbio of Google’s Talent and Outreach Programs, K-12. “We have found it invaluable to be surrounded by so many driven people that share the same passion for entrepreneurship and New Orleans, and it’s amazing to see the tangible impact that energy is having on the city.”

“The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative is honored to partner with Mayor Landrieu and The Idea Village to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of New Orleans’ small business owners.  We are pleased to partner with NOEW to provide local entrepreneurs access to business skills, capital, mentors and networks,” said Dina Habib Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Google and Goldman Sachs, along with other global corporations such as Cisco, will join a network of professional service providers to host public educational sessions for the local entrepreneurial community on an array of topics critical to startups and entrepreneurs, including alternative and traditional financing, communication and social media strategy, franchising, and legal issues. There are 1,000 slots available to local entrepreneurs on a first come – first served basis. For more information on all the events, please visit

“It is inspiring to interact with the kind of talent that The Idea Village assembles together for NOEW. Not only are Cisco employees able to support local entrepreneurs, but they walk away having learned something too,” said Luke Stewart of Cisco.

NOEW 2011 will feature MBA IDEAcorps teams from Berkeley, Cornell, University of Chicago Booth, Stanford, Northwestern Kellogg, Tulane and Loyola (New Orleans). Each student team will work closely with entrepreneurs from The Idea Village’s 2011 Entrepreneur Challenge (IVEC) class to provide strategic consulting on a catalytic business challenge. The entrepreneurs include Bideo, The Durationator Company, NOLA Brewing Company, Rare Cuts, Rebirth Financial, Spa Workshop and SensPac.

Additionally, NOEW 2011 offers a world-class investment pitch opportunity called IDEApitch led by Jim Coulter, founding partner of TPG Capital. IDEApitch will offer 5 local entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their ventures to leading investors from TPG, Bain Venture Capital, Redpoint, Prism, IBM Ventures, and American Funds.

“This is a special and important moment for the city of New Orleans,” said Jim Coulter. “The Coulter Challenge IDEApitch specifically identifies five of Louisiana’s most scalable ventures and gives them the opportunity to pitch their plans to some of the world’s leading growth capital firms.”

2011 IDEApitch entrepreneurs include Federated Sample, Naked Pizza, Spa Workshop, Mini Vax and NOvate Medical Technologies, LLC.

Additionally, NOEW will feature a $50,000 ‘Water Challenge’ to promote innovative water management solutions through entrepreneurship.

NOEW 2011 will offer interactive roundtable discussions on seeding and growing entrepreneurial ecosystems led by national luminaries such as Jim Coulter, Senator Mary Landrieu D-La, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Amy Cosper, Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, and leading business entities such as McKinsey & Company, Bain Venture Capital and IBM.

Featured Speakers and Panelists for NOEW 2011:

  • Jim Coulter, Founding Partner, TPG Capital
  • John Turner, President , Whitney Bank
  • Dr. Patti Greene, President’s Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, Babson College
  • Rick Aubry, Founder, New Foundry Ventures/Associate Provost, Tulane University
  • Kris Licht and Eric Harmon, Partners, McKinsey & Co.
  • Amy Cosper, Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Jeff Schwartz, Managing Director, Bain Capital
  • Kevin Clifford, President and CEO, American Funds
  • Wendy Lung, Partner, IBM Venture Capital
  • Jeff Brody, Founding Partner, Redpoint Ventures
  • Jim Counihan, Partner, Prism Venture Works
  • Gene Zelazny, Director of Visual Communications, McKinsey & Co.
  • Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Chris Gergen , Executive Director, Bull City Forward, Life Entrepreneurs
  • Jessica Jackley, Founder, Kiva and Profounder
  • Robbie Vitrano, Naked Pizza
  • David Waggonner, FAIA, Waggoner & Ball Architects
  • Mark Davis, Director, Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

For more information, including a full schedule of events, please visit

About the Idea Village

The Idea Village was founded in 2000 as an independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing business resources to high-impact ventures. To date, The Idea Village has supported over 590 local entrepreneurs by engaging 890 professionals and allocating over 56,000 consulting hours and $2.5 million in capital. This portfolio generates over $87 million in annual revenue and has created 1,000 jobs for the community.

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