While much of the country struggles to pull itself out of recession, New Orleans' job market is considerably more promising. Since 2006, Louisiana has ranked second for job growth in the country. Since 2009, we've added more tech jobs than anyone else.
Idea Village founder and CEO Tim Williamson says entrepreneurs are largely to thank. "All net new jobs have been created in the country with companies less than 5 years. So there's a big push around the country to foster entrepreneurship, to encourage people to come up with new ideas, 'cause those folks with create the ideas, they'll raise capital and they'll create jobs."
Forbes magazine agrees, naming New Orleans the "Number One Brain Magnet." Inc.com calls us the "Coolest Startup City in America." But on the road to success, businesses in the Crescent City are getting a good amount of help.
Williamson says Idea Village offers, "a network of resources from business leaders to CEOs to investors to accountants, corporations, universities, to act as a start-up team for an entrepreneur."
The resources come at no cost to the entrepreneurs. They're simply asked to pay it forward once they make it big. In ten years, Idea Village has an impressive track record, supporting start-ups like Naked Pizza, Flavor Paper and Cordina frozen cocktails.
Craig Cordez and his partners founded Cordina at 23 years old. They create pre-mixed cocktails with catchy names, like the Daiq-go-ri and Mar-go-rita. In 28 months, they've hired 40 employees and business has grown 2,000%! Cordez explains the success. "I think with the owners being as young as we are, we work all day, all night. We are our market, so we try to bring the cool factors out that we know and here we are today!"
All of the blending, tasting, filling and packing happens right here in Louisiana. In fact, the only part of the product that's manufactured overseas is the pouch that the Mar-go-rita comes in. "From a manufacturing perspective," says Cordez, "New Orleans is definitely a great place for us to be at. From a cost perspective, from a branding perspective nationwide and from the resources that they provide at Idea Village for example, as well."
At the end of the day, that's the end goal of Idea Village: to build businesses that will keep jobs and profits at home.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun