Get in Touch
General & Background
What is The Idea Village?
The Idea Village is a community of entrepreneurs and those who believe in them based in New Orleans. Founded in 2000, The Idea Village formalized in 2002 as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to identify, support, and retain entrepreneurial talent. The Idea Village is committed to sustaining the local entrepreneurial movement by providing direct services to entrepreneurs, engaging the community, and supporting initiatives that leverage entrepreneurship to catalyze change.
When was The Idea Village founded?
The Idea Village began in 2000 on a cocktail napkin at Loa Bar in the International House Hotel. A group of young entrepreneurs, self-named “The Loa Group,” realized there was a gap in the New Orleans economic development landscape and led a grassroots movement to focus on entrepreneurship. It began with a business plan competition that drew more than 75 plans from local entrepreneurs. Almost $150,000 in cash and services was awarded to the winner, PetroDesigns, and it became apparent that New Orleans needed a “village”, a community to support such talent long-term. The Idea Village formalized in 2002 as an independent 501c3 nonprofit.
Why was The Idea Village founded – what is its purpose?
The Idea Village was founded to hack the chronic complacency in New Orleans and reverse the exodus of talent from the city that occurred from 1980-2000. Entrepreneurship is not only a catalyst for social and economic change, but a great tool for finding new leaders, so the founders felt the necessary solution was to identify, support, and retain entrepreneurial talent in the region. The tactic was to build an independent inclusive network (community, village, ecosystem) of business, government, and university resources to collaborate around supporting and retaining entrepreneurial individuals, because we believe that the leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation will also be the leaders in everything else.
Who owns The Idea Village?
The Idea Village operates as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization governed by its board of directors.
Where does The Idea Village receive its funding?
The Idea Village has received funding from both public and private charitable sources, including individuals, corporations, foundations, and government. Check out our current sponsors.
What makes The Idea Village different than other economic development organizations?
The Idea Village has many characteristics which make it unique. Among these important distinctions include:
- The Idea Village was founded by local entrepreneurs.
- The Idea Village is one of the oldest private independent economic development organizations in Orleans Parish.
- The Idea Village does not take equity in the entrepreneurial ventures it supports.
- The Idea Village has established a local and national network of support that includes individuals, corporations, foundations, and government.
- The Idea Village has nurtured deep roots and relationships with a global network of over 2,600 professionals to support New Orleans entrepreneurs.
- The Idea Village’s program offerings are all free.
- The Idea Village operates on an annual cycle called the Entrepreneur Season.
How can I get involved with The Idea Village?
- Apply to one of our entrepreneur programs or attend New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
- Attend innovative, informative community events
- Test a business idea or tackle a pressing challenge with experts during an IDEAsession
- Support local entrepreneurs by mentoring or teaching. Email email@example.com for next steps.
- Invest in the New Orleans entrepreneurial community by contributing to The Idea Village.
Does The Idea Village offer office space, and if so how can I go about obtaining an office?
No, we do not provide office space. However, our building mate Launch Pad does! Contact them to inquire about office space in The IP Building, one of the largest entrepreneurial hubs in New Orleans.
IDEAVILLAGEx Accelerator Programs
How do you choose the companies you accept into IDEAVILLAGEx?
Initial qualification criteria includes being organized as a for-profit venture, located in the Greater New Orleans 10-parish region*, and generating less than $1M in revenue. Entrepreneurs who meet all qualification criteria are then evaluated based on their application responses versus a robust list of assessment criteria. For further information regarding qualification and assessment criteria, please click here.
*Louisiana-based oil and gas startups are eligible for this year’s ENERGYx program.
Can I submit multiple business ideas for IDEAVILLAGEx?
We would prefer that you submit one business or idea for the IDEAVILLAGEx program that fits best with your vision. So funnel all of those great ideas into one strong venture that speaks to you as an entrepreneur and the viability of your potential business.
How can I improve my application?
First, don’t be afraid to pass your application around to friends and family for feedback. Next, we are hosting three information sessions where we will discuss the application process at length and offer up some tips and tricks for how you can put your best foot forward.
Who will read my application?
Your application will be read by several members of The Idea Village team and the dedicated IDEAVILLAGEx Entrepreneur(s)-in-Residence. If you continue to the later stages, members of the various interview committees for the first and second round interviews will also review your application.
When will I know if I've been accepted into IDEAx?
Entrepreneurs that have been officially selected to participate in IDEAVILLAGEx this year (that includes the IDEAx, DIGITALMEDIAx, and ENERGYx programs) will receive notification no later than August 27, 2016.
Do I have to quit my job if I am accepted into IDEAx?
While we do seek entrepreneurs who are fully committed to their venture, it is not a requirement that you quit your job if you are accepted into the program.
If accepted, what is the typical time commitment?
While you do not need to be working on your venture full time to participate in IDEAVILLAGEx accelerators, we expect a significant commitment from founders in the program. You can expect to spend 5-10 hours per week on program related activities and work. And we encourage you to spend even more..
When is the deadline to apply and what's the overall timeline for the IDEAVILLAGEx programs?
Applications for IDEAx, DIGITALMEDIAx, ENERGYx will open on June 30th, 2016 and close at 11:59pm CT on Friday, August 5th . The 2017 cohorts will be announced no later than August 27th, 2016.
The Entrepreneur Season
What is the Entrepreneur Season?
The Entrepreneur Season is The Idea Village's annual cycle of unique programs and events that drive entrepreneurial activity in New Orleans. The Season culminates each March with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
Why a Season?
New Orleans is great at connecting. Maybe the best. We organize ourselves around seasons — around rituals. There’s a rhythm to the way we come together as a community, and our seasons are the platform for the rituals. The Entrepreneur Season is no different.
What programs does The Idea Village offer during the 2017 Entrepreneur Season?
From July – March, we support entrepreneurs through the following programs:
- IDEAsessions are 60-minute strategy sessions led by seasoned entrepreneurs and business experts. The goal is for participating entrepreneurs to walk away with next steps that they can immediately implement.
- IDEAx is an annual 12-week accelerator program for up to 5 New Orleans founders focused on creating scalable and fundable businesses.
- DIGITALMEDIAx is a 12-week accelerator for up to 5 New Orleans-based founders with innovative digital information-sharing concepts, hosted in partnership with NOLA Media Group. The program will culminate in a Demo Day in December, where the winner will receive $1,000 in cash, free office space at NOLA Media Group's One Canal Place newsroom from January-March 2017, and a networking trip to New York City sponsored by Advance Local.
- ENERGYx is a 12-week accelerator program for up to 5 Louisiana-based oil and gas startups, hosted in partnership with the Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative. Select participants will present their businesses to a panel of industry leaders for a $75,000 grant during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2016.
- CAPITALx is an annual 10-week accelerator program for select New Orleans-based founders focused on fundraising. Participation in CAPITALx is by invitation-only.
- New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by IBERIABANK, is an annual festival celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and new thinking.
Does The Idea Village charge for its services?
No. The Idea Village does not charge fees for our programs. Foundations, corporations, government, and individuals underwrite the cost of these programs with a goal of creating economic impact in New Orleans. We do ask entrepreneurs to "Pay-it-Forward" through both time and financial contributions to support future entrepreneurs, but there is no legal obligation.
Who does The Idea Village serve?
We serve entrepreneurs located in the 10-parish New Orleans region (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington). However, there are some exceptions to this rule! Our community events and most public events during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week are open to the broader startup community regardless of geographic location.
Does The Idea Village focus on specific industries?
Entrepreneurs from all industries are encouraged to engage in the programming that takes place during the Entrepreneur Season. We sometimes do engage entrepreneurs from specific industries and/or sectors through strategic initiatives with partners – but those programs vary year to year.
I am not from New Orleans. What program(s) can I apply for?
If you are an entrepreneur who is based outside of the Greater New Orleans region, you are welcome to participate in New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, but all other programs are strictly for entrepreneurs with businesses located in New Orleans.
Why do you need my race and ethnicity information?
As a 501c3 nonprofit that is federally funded, we are required to report on the demographics of the entrepreneurs that we serve. This information is reported in aggregate and is not used to individually assess you or your venture.
Is The Idea Village going to run the businesses that it invests time in?
No. We work to empower the founder(s) to drive their business and connect them with our powerful network of business experts. The Idea Village does not have decision making authority in the businesses supported.
I'm concerned that if I apply for one of the accelerator programs or an IDEAsession, you won't protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?
We're certainly not in the business of stealing ideas and we will not show your application to anyone outside of The Idea Village and our strategic advisors. Each year, we see hundreds of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this, and other practical reasons, please do not ask us to sign an NDA. Our application does not ask for your "secret sauce" and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you're not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.
Does The Idea Village provide capital?
The Idea Village does not make direct equity investments. However, we do provide resources that can assist in preparing you for a pitch for capital investment or point you towards investing professionals in New Orleans. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions.
How is The Idea Village different from private investors?
The Idea Village does not take equity in the companies that it supports. We accelerate the development of the early-stage ventures in preparation for revenue generation or seed funding with a goal of preparing entrepreneurs to seek funding through private sources.
When is NOEW 2017?
The 9th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, presented by IBERIABANK, will take place March 19th – 24th, 2017, in downtown New Orleans.
I would like to sign up for NOEW 2017, what should I do?
Registration for this year’s event will open in January via www.NOEW.org. In the meantime, please sign up for our newsletter to receive event updates throughout the Entrepreneur Season.
I'm interested in presenting a workshop during NOEW 2017. What are my next steps?
Each year, The Idea Village has an open call for NOEW session submissions (this typically takes place in mid-Fall). Please sign up for The Idea Village newsletter to receive the most up to date information about NOEW presenter opportunities. If you need any further information, please email NOEW@ideavillage.org.
I'm interested in hosting a social event during NOEW 2017. What are my next steps?
We’re always eager to layer additional social networking opportunities onto the NOEW calendar. If you are interesting in hosting an event during NOEW 2017, please email Victoria Adams at Victoria@ideavillage.org to discuss next steps.
I'm interested in becoming a sponsor of The Idea Village. What are my next steps?
If you are interested in sponsoring The Idea Village or NOEW, please contact Megan Kepper at Megan@ideavillage.org.