One the earliest planks of organization of human society was division of labor. Instead of all of us going out hunting for food, a few of us could go, while the rest of us could stay behind and do something else useful.

In many societies, including our own, that division was by gender. Men went hunting. And women didn’t. It’s still largely that way today here in Louisiana. Men go duck hunting. If you’re a woman, you can go duck hunting too. But if you’re looking for anything to wear that is designed to fit you, to protect you, both from the elements and from the effects of shouldering a firearm, you’ll have a great deal of trouble.

Duck Hunter Emily Degan, founder of Saint Hugh

Duck Hunter Emily Degan, founder of Saint Hugh

That’s why Emily Degan launched her company, Saint Hugh. Saint Hugh designs and manufactures clothes for women who like to hunt. And who like to look good in outdoor apparel when they’re not hunting.

Innovation

If you’ve got an idea for an innovative new business in Louisiana, and you’re looking for someone to finance it who doesn’t have the word “shark” in their name, you could partner with Innovation Catalyst.

Innovation Catalyst is an unusual animal in the finance world. It’s a venture capital enterprise. That’s a non-profit. The organization invests real cash in local startups, but it’s a non-profit, community-centered organization aimed at growing local high-tech companies through education, connections, and capital.

Innovation Catalyst Bill Ellison

Innovation Catalyst Bill Ellison

The Vice President and General Counsel of Innovation Catalyst is Bill Ellison.

Bill Ellison, Emily Degan, Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch

Bill Ellison, Emily Degan, Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch

In business, New Orleans and Louisiana are both undeniably changing. Ideas and companies that would have been completely foreign to us and unfundable a decade ago, are taking root and flourishing. It no longer seems unreasonable or unlikely to wonder if Saint Hugh could become the next Lulu Lemon or if Innovation Catalyst could finance the next Facebook.

Photos at Commander’s Palace by Jill Lafleur.

Here’s more conversation about local innovation with the CEO of New Orleans Idea Village and superstar alums.

 

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