Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Changing Course But Swimming Back from Katrina

   While disasters often spawn opportunity in their wake, Katrina’s devastation was so profound that it reshaped the psyche of New Orleans residents, including its entrepreneurs.
Suzanne Mestayer of ThirtyNorth
   After the big storm, one Louisiana native, Suzanne Mestayer, who had lived in New Orleans for 38 years, changed professional course.  After racking  up an impressive corporate career, as the ninth woman partner  in Arthur Andersen, president for four markets in Louisiana for Regions Bank, (formerly Am South), and executive vice president for wealth management of First NBC/First Commerce, she decided to become an entrepreneur. The storm, she says, “changed my perspective on what I wanted to do. I just wanted to get back to being closer to clients than my corporate responsibilities allowed.”  So in 2010, she acquired a majority ownership and the CEO title for ThirtyNorth Investments, an investment advisory firm, founded and based only in Baton Rouge. Suzanne moved headquarters to New Orleans, but now has clients in 12 states. For this year alone, she has increased assets under management by 20%.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Post Katrina Entrepreneurs

     New Orleans is coming back strong.  After sustaining the disaster of  Hurricane Katrina, the national economic recession, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans today shows significant signs of rebounding, thanks to key reforms in education, criminal justice, and local government policies. Among its most noteworthy accomplishments, according to a recent Brookings Institute Report,  its entrepreneurial activity is currently 40% above the national average.
      Not surprised by the flurry of fledgling companies, Tim Williamson, Co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village, a non profit formed to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans, says that “when Katrina hit, New Orleans became

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

French-American Entrepreneurial Contest!

Sponsored jointly by the Club 600 and the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC), the fourth annual  French-American Entrepreneurship Competition is currently accepting entries through December 31, 2011. Established in 2008, the program seeks to help young French entrepreneurs  succeed in the United States. To apply, entrepreneurs must submit business plans for review by a panel of members with expertise in many industries. Criteria include profit- seeking projects, operating in prelaunch or startup phase, in and for the US market. The 2011 winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize along with a 12-month coaching package, including strategic, legal, accounting and financial advice, from industry experts.  Last year’s winner, Céline Legros, former corporate lawyer and cooking enthusiast, launched  a pastry catering business, Les Canelés de Céline, whose clients now include Louis Vuitton, Clarins, and the Nespresso boutiques.