With the realization that the vitality of the American economy and strengthening of our nation begins at the local levels, New Orleans has been selected to be the pilot city for the Government Entrepreneur – In – Residence (EIR) program that will connect local entrepreneurs to the federal government.
The program is part of President Obama’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, and will allow local entrepreneurs direct access to a White House EIR for three months in an effort to facilitate a more direct flow of resources between the two entities.
Nish Acharya, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and Director of the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship will assist as our Government EIR, hosting monthly “office hours” dedicated to local entrepreneurs. During that time, callers will receive support, technical assistance, and access to federal agency expertise on new business programs that are otherwise difficult to get.
The new opportunity was launched this last week at a public forum hosted by Acharya, along with The Idea Village and Mayor Landrieu’s Office of Economic Development. Members of the community were given the chance to learn more about the significance of this unique program, make suggestions, and raise concerns that they face as new business owners. The information gathered at the public forum and in the upcoming weeks will be leveraged to further model the direction of the program.
Some of the topics of conversation that were initiated at the meeting included access to capital, online fundraising platforms, intellectual property protection, industry related incentives and tax credits, and local manufacturing. And, while some of the topics created more debate than others, it was evident that there is need to connect entrepreneurs to federal resources and information.
From March 10-16, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, a series of sessions will be held by the Government EIR on specific topics that pertain to local entrepreneurs and how they can efficiently access and benefit from federal governmental resources that support entrepreneurs and new businesses.
Due to the city’s supportive and fast-growing community, the Government EIR’s unique pilot program is only available to New Orleans right now. We were chosen to further demonstrate that we could continue to be built on our city’s strengths, and show the country that New Orleans is an entrepreneurial example for the rest of the country.
As our participation represents New Orleans’ role as a model city for entrepreneurship, it also gives us the opportunity to deepen our current entrepreneur development programs and resources. The goal is that the success from the program will open the opportunity to other cities that are fostering entrepreneurship as a means of strengthening our economy.
Adriana Lopez writes about the entrepreneurial community for NolaVie and Silicon Bayou News. She also showcases local start-ups through her non-profit organization GenNOLA. For more information on NolaVie, go to nolavie.com.