NOLAbound opens applications to lure entrepreneurs to New Orleans

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The city of New Orleans today is rolling out the social media red carpet for aspiring entrepreneurs, as applications open for NOLABound, with the hopes of spurring a startup scene in the Crescent City. Think of it as a mini-dose of the TechStars meets The Real World New Orleans.

The NOLABound program will provide travel stipends for 25 individuals interested in starting arts-based businesses, those in the biosciences, digital media, and sustainable industries, to spend five days in the city and share their experiences interacting with the New Orleans entrepreneur community on the NOLABound website. Applications will close on Dec. 16, and the program period runs from Mar. 14-Mar. 18, 2012, which partially overlaps with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The experience of the participants will also be filmed as part of a documentary to highlight the growing stature of New Orleans as a entrepreneurial destination.

NOLABound is being overseen by Idea Village, The Downtown Development District of New Orleans, and Greater New Orleans, Inc., and has received money from the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s Economic Development Administration.

New Orleans was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Region in August of 2005. A slow recovery effort by the federal government and FEMA left the citizens of this dynamic cultural hub scattered to the winds. Prior to the storm New, Orleans was heavily dependent on oil drilling as well tourism and entertainment for its economic livelihood. With NOLAbound, the city is hoping to make a strong case that the so-called Big Easy is place for work and play alike.

“Innovators and entrepreneurs need to consider NOLA for a unique mix of culture and business that is nurturing the startup community here,” said entrepreneur Patrick Comer, who set up his most recent company, Federated Sample, in New Orleans and was quoted in NOLAbound’s press statement. “The rich vein of creativity is unlike anything else I’ve seen, and the system of technology development and angel investor tax credits creates immediate return for both investors and startups.” Federated Sample is a New Orleans-based online market research company that currently employs 22 people, and has received $2.8 million in investment.

[New Orleans musicians image vis ShutterStock]