On Day 4, we met with a Louisiana state representative and discussed government policies that can support entrepreneurs in the region. He is a very humble man. He answered so many of our questions and also told us many economic development related policies that governments tend to use.
We had three meetings in day 5. Firstly we meet with a representative from the Office of Supplier Diversity, City of New Orleans. Besides being one of the Directors of the department, the representative is also a very successful local entrepreneur who owns a consulting firm and has a background in economic development. From her experience as both an entrepreneur and consultant, she identified access to capital as one of the biggest constraints that entrepreneurs in the region face. She believes that adopting Patient Capital strategies as an alternative capital solution is important in Louisiana State – “If one wants to start his/her own business, having a patient fund from financial institutions or banks is essential.”
After meeting with the representative from the Office of Supplier Diversity, we had a very pleasant meeting with the Director of Small Business Ecosystem Development in New Orleans Business Alliance.
New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is a public-private partnership, and the official economic development agency for the City of New Orleans. It was formed in 2010 under the direction of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and an alliance of business and civic leaders “to employ the best practices in economic development to reposition New Orleans as the ideal intersection of commerce and culture.”
The Director explained their small business ecosystem to us. She also gave us a report “ProsperityNOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018“. This report was written in June 2013. It is a five years NOLA’s economic growth strategic plan. Some takeaways from this meeting included:
- Entrepreneur’s should shift their mindset. If you are minority business owners, think bigger!
- Some resources are not there to support Entrepreneurs. For example, patient capital (this is the second time we heard patient capital today!)
- Some resources are out there. However, business starters do not take advantage of those resources in the society.
- Capital is not always the constrain for entrepreneurs. Some entrepreneurs need a better business plan.
From the meeting we had with the Director, we were informed about the “NOLA Entrepreneurs Week” at March 19-24, 2017 running for its fifth year. If you are interested in this event, do not forget to register!
After the meeting, the Director took us for a tour in Ashe Cultural Arts Center. She serves as Board of Directors in Ashe, and this arts center is located arts center to support artist from New Orleans.
Thanks to Ms. White-Colin, we were lucky enough to join the 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cesar Chavez Commemorative Lunch in Ashe Cultural Arts Center.
After two amazing meetings in the morning, we had our third meeting with Ms. Leslie Phillips, a local entrepreneur who is preparing to start her own antique shop.