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Your Insider’s Guide To New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

The tenth annual festival takes place March 19-23 at the Contemporary Arts Center.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

New Orleans knows how to put on a celebration. From music to food, festivals created to celebrate the things we love are so abundant that it would be appropriate to just rename weekends to festivals. It only seems right to include a celebration of entrepreneurship to the list of events around town. It is, in fact, how this city was built and continues to thrive economically.

For the past decade, New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW, pronounced NO-E by locals) has brought together all types of entrepreneurs – students, community members, and business leaders to celebrate entrepreneurship in a culmination of a year’s work. While the events, programming, and location continues to change and evolve, certain elements and objectives remain constant. In its tenth installment, NOEW is bringing people together while including educational components, pitches, and celebratory events in a five-day affair.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

One of the most valuable aspects of NOEW is the opportunity for attendees to learn from each other, network, and gain access to some of the region’s business leaders, as well as some of the big names that travel to the city to take part in the festival. These folks typically include investors and the heads of some of the world’s biggest and fastest growing businesses.

The tenth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co. will take place Monday, March 19 through Friday, March 23. As it coincides with the city’s Tricentennial, NOEW 2018 will leverage this year’s theme, Connect in a City Like No Other, to bring attention to the businesses and entrepreneurs in New Orleans with a roster of citywide events. Need a few more reasons to attend? Read below to learn more about this year’s schedule and how to make the most of the week. The events are free and open to the public. Visit NOEW.org for the full schedule and to register to attend.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

NOEW 2018 at a Glance:

Learn About Local Businesses at The Pitch Competitions

Monday through Wednesday (March 20-March 23) will be dedicated to pitch competitions, which take place at various locations throughout the city with NOEW’s partner organizations. Each pitch is designed to showcase the diversity of businesses and entrepreneurs in New Orleans, as well as highlight how entrepreneurial activity is connected to all parts of the city. Startup St. Bernard on Monday features businesses that have relocated to St. Bernard Parish in an effort to bring back economic stability to the area. Tuesday’s pitches focus on culinary, women-led, and healthcare businesses before it all culminates Wednesday evening with the Water Challenge. The Water Challenge competition (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Propeller) will award $15,000 to startups that are working to resolve some of the region’s most significant water challenges.

While most pitches will take place on the first three days of the week, NOEW will close with one of the biggest pitch events. The Coulter IDEApitch which has been a NOEW highlight in years past, showcases three of New Orleans’s most promising startups. The founders of the chosen startups will pitch to Jim Coulter, founding partner at TPG Capital, and other prominent investors for an opportunity to win $100,000 in capital funding. The stakes are high and the presentations are impressive, making this a great way to finish a week of celebrating entrepreneurship.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Learn From Successful Business Leaders During NOEW Summit

The NOEW Summit will take place Thursday and Friday at the NOEW Headquarters, AKA The Contemporary Arts Center. Stages and meeting areas located throughout the CAC will feature panels, educational sessions and keynote speakers during the last two days of scheduled events. Keynote speakers include Gabrielle Toledano, Chief People Officer at Tesla, and Kevin Lin, native New Orleanian and Co-Founder of Twitch – a site for streaming video games that was bought by Amazon for nearly $1B.

Panel discussions bring together local entrepreneurs and business leaders to have insightful conversations on a variety of hot topics that include: diversity in entrepreneurship and overcoming challenges, balancing all your jobs and passions in today’s side hustle economy, and suggestions on how to leverage social media to grow customer relationships.

Schmooze At The Parties and Networking Events

NOEW offers several opportunities for networking with other like-minded people through different parties and gathering areas activated right in the NOEW Headquarters. It’s one of the few times of the year that gives professionals from the area a socially acceptable excuse to leave their work obligations in order to do a little professional development of their own. There are several parties throughout the week designated for just that, starting with the Chamber after 5: NOEW Celebration on Wednesday, March 22, from 5:30p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The happy hour at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art (across the street from NOEW HQ) will celebrate the pitch competition winners and kick off the NOEW Summit, complete with complimentary hors d’ouevres and drinks.

On Thursday evening, The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation will sponsor a happy hour at The Shop At The CAC to end day one of NOEW Summit from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Then, NOEW 2018 culminates with the closing party inside the warehouse at the CAC at 7p.m. , following Jim Coulter’s keynote and IDEApitch competition. The event will feature live entertainment, and complimentary food and drinks.

Almost as crucial as the scheduled parties and networking events is the opportunity to start organic conversations and genuine relationships at the lounge inside the warehouse at the CAC, a designated gathering area within NOEW Headquarters. It’s a dedicated place to take a load off between sessions, catch up on emails or enjoy lunch from one of the participating food trucks. It can also be a place to learn about a new business or meet a new colleague, potential partner, or loyal customer in a way that feels more informal.

Added Bonus: Upgrade To VIP

During the NOEW Summit, attendees will have the opportunity to upgrade to VIP status for $100, which gains you access to the “NOEW VIP Lounge brought to you by Bond Moroch” located inside the NOEW Headquarters. Access includes complimentary food and beverages throughout the two-day summit as well as exclusive pop-up showcases, giveaways, music, and special guest appearances. The lounge will also host several of NOEW’s speakers and investors – giving you an added opportunity to network with some of the week’s most influential attendees.

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