New Orleans Entrepreneur Week to kick off in March

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is set to kick off in March with eight days of seminars, workshops and social gatherings that aim to support local entrepreneurs.

Now in its eighth year, Entrepreneur Week is expected to attract thousands of entrepreneurs, business executives, investors and business students interested in taking part in more than 100 events, including nearly five-dozen workshops, panel discussions and networking events beginning March 11.

The series of events are sponsored by the Idea Village, a 16-year-old nonprofit that works to identify and support local entrepreneurs.

“We have crafted New Orleans Entrepreneur Week to be locally significant and globally relevant,” said Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of the Idea Village. “NOEW is important to our community because it builds New Orleans’ brand as a leading entrepreneurial ecosystem, attracts talent, educates the community and provides an opportunity to engage everyone in the entrepreneurial movement.”

This year’s series will include nearly 150 entrepreneurs who will be showcased in events that will award more than $500,000 in cash prizes and services, organizers said. More than two dozen national investors also are expected to attend.

Headliner speakers include Rich Caccappolo, the chief operating officer of DailyMail; Steve Case, co-founder of AOL; Jim Coulter, founding partner of the global private investment firm TPG; Jonathan Greenblatt, founder of Ethos Water and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League; and Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

Admission is free for the first 15,000 people to register. For $250 a pop, the Idea Village is offering 500 VIP passes that provide entry into a private lounge and some private events.

The week is scheduled to culminate with the Big Idea, a live pitch competition on Fulton Street that will pit promising local startups against each other for prize money.

Attendees can purchase voting chips for $25, which allow them to vote for their favorite startup. The three entrepreneurs who collect the most chips will advance to the next round to pitch their business in front of a panel of judges to decide who will receive a $25,000 grand prize.

Last year, more than 3,300 people attended the event, which allocated $50,300 in funding to 12 entrepreneurs.

Registration is at www.NOEW.org.

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