Innovations That Inspire

Greater New Orleans Startup Report

Recognition Year(s): 2020
School: A.B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University
Location: United States

Innovation Statement:

The Greater New Orleans Startup Report provides data and insights on local startups and is a tool to affect policy, apply for grants, implement relevant programs, and measure success.

Call to Action:

After meetings and informal conversations with local entrepreneurs and the organizations that serve them, the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Lepage Center) identified a need to better understand the dynamics of the startup economy in Greater New Orleans. Better data helps ecosystem organizers make more informed decisions regarding policy and investments that impact the community. We want to enable our region to make data-driven decisions so that Greater New Orleans can build its entrepreneurial ecosystem guided by responsive, informed policymakers and community leaders.

The goals of the Greater New Orleans Startup Report are as follows:

  1. Build a diverse coalition of leaders, institutions, firms, and advocates who share the vision.
  2. Execute a multiyear initiative to understand and define our region’s unique innovation engine.
  3. Use the report to benchmark against other regions and track progress over time.
  4. Identify opportunities for transformative change and coordinate efforts to pursue them on a regional scale.

Thanks to overwhelming community support for this effort, for the very first time we have ecosystem-wide data that facilitate insights on revenue and hiring needs and provides clues as to what it will take to help our companies grow. This inaugural Greater New Orleans Startup Report is a new annual effort.

Innovation Description:

This project is modeled on a similar initiative in Washington, D.C., during which D.C.-area firm Fosterly analyzed more than 32,000 data points to produce a summary report, which it provided free to the community. In addition to consulting with Fosterly, the Lepage Center worked with six Tulane University faculty and the Tulane Institutional Review Board to develop our survey.

The Greater New Orleans Startup Report is a data-gathering effort that the Lepage Center led along with 22 community partners, including local leaders such as The Idea Village, Propeller, and Greater New Orleans, Inc. We asked each community partner to invite entrepreneurs in its network to take the survey. In early 2019, we distributed nearly 400 survey invitations over a six-week period. All data have been anonymized and displayed in a way that protects the privacy of respondents and the proprietary information of participating companies.

This effort led to over 200 survey responses, with entrepreneurs answering questions about hiring practices, revenue, and funds raised. The 60-page report includes charts derived from responses to our survey questions, plus commentary and analysis provided by some of our region’s leading subject matter experts.

Innovation Impact:

Thanks to the efforts of the Lepage Center and our community partners, we now have ecosystem-wide data for the very first time that provides insights to help our companies grow; for example, 81 percent of founders report that they plan to hire full-time employees in the next year, and 64 percent are considering raising money from outside investors. The published report is available to the public online for free.

The Lepage Center will continue to survey local entrepreneurs annually while focusing on expanding the number of entrepreneurs who respond and refining the survey questions (based on respondent and community partner feedback) for the most useful and relevant data. By surveying companies each year, long-term trends will emerge that not only help us measure past progress but also guide us moving forward. The hyper-local focus allows unique insights and relevant data to surface that might otherwise go unnoticed. Ultimately, the data presented in the Greater New Orleans Startup Report will serve as a tool to affect policy, apply for grants, implement relevant programs, and measure success.

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