A Rise in Entrepreneurship Gives New Orleans a Boost

In New Orleans, hospitality and entrepreneurship have a mutually beneficial relationship. With hospitality serving as the city’s largest industry, it’s given way for other industries to take root and bloom – entrepreneurship is growing in New Orleans, as is evidenced by organizations like Idea Village, Operation Spark, Propeller, Launch Pad, and many others. In turn, entrepreneurial efforts have brought in more workers to the Central Business and Warehouse Districts, prompting the hospitality industry to build more hotels, open more restaurants, and generally expand its presence in the area. So what does entrepreneurship mean in New Orleans? We’re taking a closer look. But first: what is an entrepreneur?

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the 2014 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. (Photo courtesy The Idea Village on Facebook)

Forbes explains that “entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are those who identify a need—any need—and fill it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry or market.” New Orleans is home to many who fit that definition across several different categories:


There are so many startups in New Orleans: Bioceptive, a women’s health company; The Idea Village, a hub for creative endeavors with three entrepreneurs-in-residence; and many more. Some of these startups even have a direct hospitality tie in. For example, restaurants like Dreamy Weenies follow a model of entrepreneurship – they saw a need for kosher, halal, and vegetarian options for hot dogs, and they filled it (to delicious effect). Revelator Coffee came to New Orleans with backing from venture capitalists. Dinner Lab pulls in facets of hospitality with its membership dinner series. It started in New Orleans, and now it’s in 30 different cities across the country!

Major Companies

If entrepreneurship means filling a need, major companies can fit this model, too. In the years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has attracted companies like Chiquita, Globalstar, and GE Capital. That means more jobs for New Orleanians, and a presence in the global economy.


New stores represent two facets of entrepreneurship: they fill the need for products as well as the need for jobs. Recently, New Orleans has seen national retailers like Costco and H&M in addition to brand-new shopping facilities like The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. The companies have created more than 14,000 jobs in just the past 5 years alone. (But of course, we still love our local retailers, who show that going native pays off!)

Remarkable Stats

Katrina 10 Recovery Data shows us that New Orleans now boasts the highest economic rankings in city history, thanks in large part to entrepreneurship and hospitality.

  • America’s biggest brain magnet, #1 for IT job growth – Forbes Magazine
  • #1 Most Improved Metro – Wall Street Journal “Market Watch”
  • 56 percent higher startups per capita in New Orleans
  • #1 city where working-age Americans are moving – Forbes Magazine