New Orleans tops for young entrepreneurs

A new survey from Lendingtree finds New Orleans is the best city in America for young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

"Over half of the people [starting businesses in New Orleans] are millennials or younger," Hecht says.  "It really indicates since Katrina this is a place where people have been able to explore new opportunities, pursue their dream and in some notable cases have great success."

Buoyed by the survey, Hecht pulls no punches when he describes what New Orleans is doing to promote business as the wave of the future. 

And he's got the numbers to back it up: "We're the number seven fastest growing tech community in the country.  And significantly within that we are number three for women in tech per capita and number five for African Americans in tech per capita."

Hecht says the numbers illustrate 'inclusive innovation', meaning everybody is participating in the tech boom.   And all boats are rising with the tide. 

New Orleans has a hard fought reputation as the best place to start a business.  Which is why the Big Easy is number and traditional tech centers are way down the list: 

  • 10: Boston
  • 16: New York
  • 17: Austin
  • 38: San Francisco
  • 46: Seattle

"People are voting with their feet, and they're moving here to start their companies," Hecht explains. "Once people understand how supportive and innovative the environment is here in New Orleans, they tend to get hooked and that's what we hope to happen over the next few years."

Hecht calls this a 'virtuous cycle' that is propelling New Orleans ahead of other cities in luring entrepreneurs and expanding its business base. 

Looking back 15-years to the time of Katrina, Hecht says the numbers and the attainment of the top spot means New Orleans has come very far, very fast.

"If we continue to support our companies and pursue other quality of life initiatives, like better schools, if we keep pushing in this direction we're going to be able to be one of those places that's known for a thriving diverse economy."

Hecht describes what he calls the Post-Katrina Phenomenon.  It's where more growth, opportunities, and community wealth will mean a better future for everybody. 

Check out the Lendingtree survey:  Click Here.