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New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2021 Goes Virtual, Draws Innovators Throughout Region

Presented by Entergy’s innovation lab, KeyString Labs Notable 2021 Speakers Include Brad Feld, Chef Nina Compton, and Christina Wallace

NEW ORLEANS — Returning for its 12th year, NOEW today announced a lineup of headline speakers who will shed light and break down barriers, all on a virtual stage for the first time ever, taking place March 22-26.

Pivoting amid the pandemic and launching a new, globally accessible online event, NOEW has curated an engaging weeklong digital experience that unites entrepreneurs, job seekers, local leaders and investors in a celebration of the city’s resilient entrepreneurial spirit and activity.

“For more than a decade, New Orleans Entrepreneur Week has been the hub for convening founders, business professionals, idea starters, investors and partners within our entrepreneurial community,” said Brenna Kane, COO of The Idea Village. “From people interested in learning about the future of business in New Orleans, to current and future founders, to those looking for job opportunities, NOEW is an incredible community resource that offers a platform for the exchange of ideas.”

This year’s slate of virtual events will feature a focus on the themes of community resiliencefuture-proofing New Orleans, creating equitable systems, New Orleans’ cultural and entrepreneurial landscape, and the region’s startup community, among others. 

NOEW 2021 will host over 60 sessions featuring notable speakers, including: 

  • Brad Feld – Managing director of Foundry Group
    • Author of Startup Revolution series, speaker and early-stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987
    • Co-founder of Foundry Group and Techstars
  • Chef Nina Compton – Chef and restaurateur
    • Chef and owner of award-winning restaurants Compere Lapin and Bywater American Bistro
    • Winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Best Chef South
  • Christina Wallace – Harvard Business School lecturer
    • Senior lecturer of entrepreneurial management unit at Harvard Business School
    • Co-host of The Limit Does Not Exist, a podcast about portfolio careers
    • Co-author of New To Big: How Companies Can Create Like Entrepreneurs, Invest Like VCs, and Install a Permanent Operating System for Growth
  • Walter Isaacson – Leonard Lauder professor of history at Tulane University, co-host of Amanpour & Company, and author
    • Host of “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, and host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies
    • Formerly CEO of the Aspen Institute, the chairman of CNN and editor of TIME magazine
  • Marlon Nichols – Managing partner at MaC Venture Capital
    • Founding managing partner at MaC Venture Capital, which finds entrepreneurs who are building the future for the rest of America
    • Former Kauffman Fellow and investment director at Intel Capital, with an extensive background in technology, private equity, media and entertainment
  • Patrick Comer – Founder and CEO of Lucid
    • Since its inception in 2010, Lucid has become one of the most successful tech startups in New Orleans, with hundreds of employees across the globe
    • Patrick has been a founder, investor, and executive for startups since 1998
    • Named Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year by the A.B. Freeman School of Business
  • Daniel Caruso – Managing director of Caruso Ventures
    • Former chairman and CEO at Zayo Group, his third fiber bandwidth startup he co-founded in 2007
    • Current chairman of the board for Endeavor Colorado and board member of Colorado Thrives, University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and CU Boulder’s Chancellor Strategic Advisory Council
  • Eldora Ellison, Ph.D. – Director of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
    • Co-chair of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox‘s Patent Office Litigation Practice and a member of the firm’s executive committee
    • Her 26-year career includes representing clients in over 70 inter partes review and post-grant review proceedings, and more than 15 patent interferences
    • Served as lead patent strategist for the University of California on its ground-breaking CRISPR technology

“Now more than ever is a time to spotlight and learn from the innovators that push our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem forward, and we’re proud to make the best and the brightest accessible to all this year in this new virtual format,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village. “Though NOEW may look different than in past years, the event continues to serve as our region’s front door to innovation and we are excited to offer such a diverse lineup of speakers who will deliver inspiration, groundbreaking lessons and resources for our community.”

As a presenting sponsor of NOEW, KeyString Labs is continuing its commitment to innovation and investing in the next generation of leaders. 

“KeyString Labs, our innovation arm at Entergy, is proud to sponsor such an important gathering of change leaders across our community. Innovation is not just about new customer expectations and a rapid shift in technology,” said Michael Cross, vice president of innovation. “We are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, there have been historic weather events, and we have heightened awareness across many social issues – these should also be viewed as inspirations to think differently and work together to find new solutions.”

Though this year’s events will be virtual, NOEW is creatively finding ways to support the entrepreneurial talent of our city. Unique entertainment elements for 2021 include providing attendees with the option to support the local hospitality industry by ordering dinner from NOEW restaurant partners to be delivered during the daily evening keynote segments called NOEW @ Night. Each segment will conclude with a performance from local culture bearers, ranging from a chef demo, to a fashion show, to multiple musical acts, at unique venues throughout the city. 

Additionally, NOEW is partnering with GNO Inc. to connect job-seeking attendees with local tech and innovation companies that are recruiting from virtual booths in the WorkNOLA Talent Den. 

All NOEW virtual events are free to join, and tickets can be accessed at


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