The Idea Village, a local nonprofit and business accelerator, has partnered with Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business to plan its signature event, New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
Now in its 11th year, Entrepreneur Week is scheduled March 25-29 and features speakers, pitch competitions, workshops, networking and other events to support innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in the region.
The event has drawn more than 10,000 investors and entrepreneurs in years past. Last year, the Idea Village hosted 60 events in connection with the conference and awarded $330,000 in funding and services to startup businesses.
Tulane will be contributing by investing in "frontier areas of innovation" such as data analytics and entrepreneurial hospitality, said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School.
Rob Lalka, executive director of the school's Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, added that the partnership acted as a "natural extension" of the center's mission to bring together stakeholders and build businesses.
“Through this partnership, Tulane and The Idea Village can leverage our complementary strengths to have a greater impact in New Orleans and across the Gulf South," Lalka said.
The move to partner with The Idea Village comes amid a broader push by Tulane's business school in recent months to increase its presence in downtown New Orleans.
This week, Tulane will begin holding classes for its executive education program at the Stewart Center CBD, a 21,000-square-foot space in the Warehouse District.
The building will house the Stewart Center for Executive Education, which includes Freeman’s executive MBA program and custom, nondegree programs for professionals, the Goldring Institute for International Business and a newly launched program in Entrepreneurial Hospitality.
Blocks away from the I.P. Building, an office space dedicated to digital ventures, and The Shop, a space for startups within the Contemporary Arts Center, the Stewart Center CBD will also put Tulane close to the city’s entrepreneurial hubs, according to Matt Schwartz, a member of the business school's council.
“With a campus in the heart of New Orleans’ ‘Innovation Corridor,’ students will gain access to a world of new opportunities for networking and collaboration,” Schwartz said.
The partnership with the Idea Village is aimed at building connections between the city's entrepreneurial ecosystem and the region’s core economic assets, said Jon Atkinson, the Idea Village CEO.
"Having two of the city’s most powerful champions for entrepreneurs working more closely together to strengthen our innovation ecosystem is a powerful catalyst for the future," Atkinson said in a news release.
In addition to gaining a new partner, the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week will also be held at a new venue this year, the Ace Hotel.
The Idea Village was founded in 2000 and has provided more than 8,000 entrepreneurs $26 million in resources, including over 93,000 consulting hours and $3 million in seed capital, according to the nonprofit.
Of the entrepreneurs, 243 have been selected into the organization's core business accelerator program, resulting in 3,022 jobs, over $185 million in private capital, and $208 million in annual revenue.