Ecosystem Development Challenges
Strategic Challenges are collaborative programs produced by The Idea Village in conjunction with an identified partner organization in an effort to elevate entrepreneurs from a particular industry or sector, while strengthening partnerships in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participants are educated on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and advised on how to most effectively manage and grow a start-up that provides innovative solutions for the industry. Selected entrepreneurs are then invited to pitch for business development grants during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Historical challenges include the award-winning Water Challenge, the Education Challenge, the Urban Development Challenge, and the Talent Retention Challenge.
Strategic Challenges are structured to take participants through the entrepreneurial process from problem identification to business model development, and finally to fundraising and execution during a six-month, three-phase program. Phase one begins in the fall with educational programming designed to provide an overview of basic concepts of entrepreneurship, innovation, and design thinking to diverse industry experts who may not have business backgrounds. Select participants who have identified feasible business models and demonstrated the passion and ability to take their start-up to the next level are selected to participate in phase two, a three-month mini accelerator program where entrepreneurs will be paired with The Idea Village Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (seasoned entrepreneurs who provide strategic consulting and mentorship) to refine their strategy, organize their business, and develop their pitch for funding. Finally, phase three takes place in March when Strategic Challenge finalists will have the opportunity to pitch for grant capital during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).
2013 Challenges Include: