Central to our mission is the creation and execution of innovative projects that continue to build the entrepreneurial infrastructure in the New Orleans community and that provide new revenue streams for The Idea Village. Funders – including innovators, corporations, economic development partners, foundations, and community activists – approach The Idea Village with specific ideas to better the community, and together, we assess the opportunity and develop an innovative approach to activating those ideas through entrepreneurship. Past projects have included: IDEAcorps (2006), Entergy Innovation Center (2009), How They Did It (2009), Water Challenge (2010), and Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge (2010).
Our strategy with IDEAlab, in the 2015 Season, was to connect national networks to New Orleans’ entrepreneurial community. Our 2015 IDEAlab projects included:
Through a partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, as 45 delegates from across eight states travelled to New Orleans during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week to leverage the great, interactive content, connect with investors, and learn how to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem in their own communities.
Connecting NOLA Expats
Launched in 2014, the New Bienville Society (NBS) is an invitation-only initiative focused on identifying national leaders with an indelible emotional link to New Orleans to engage in its future. Bill Hines, Managing Director of Jones Walker, hosted the 2nd annual NBS at Jones Walker during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2016. Co-chairs were Deborah Elam, President, the GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer, GE; Jim Coulter, Founding Partner, TPG; Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, and Tim Williamson. Dr. Scott Cowen, President Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor at Tulane University, led in-depth discussions focused on economic development, education, and politics. Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed the full group with a vision for 2018, and the day ended with a moderated roundtable discussion hosted by Aspen Institute Executive Vice President Peter Reiling.
Connecting National Thought Leaders
The Rise of the Rest tours are a nationwide effort led by Steve Case, Co-founder of American Online, to showcase – and invest in – entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. The Idea Village planned and curated the New Orleans trip, which took place in May 2015 and included a showcase of some of the best idea in New Orleans on a Mardi Gras float. Only in NOLA!