A couple of decades ago, New Orleans’ business landscape was bleak. The economic decline that began with the oil bust of the 1970’s was followed by political corruption, poor education, and high crime rates. By the time we got to the 1990’s, the continually diminishing range of career opportunities here had led to a mass exodus of 25–35-year-olds.

In 2002, a small group of enterprising New Orleanians had the idea that encouraging entrepreneurship might be a way to help turn the city’s fortunes around. They founded a business incubator, and called it Idea Village. As you may know, it worked. When the post-Hurricane Katrina influx of people and capital started pouring into New Orleans, Idea Village was in the right place at the right time.

Today, people who grow up here don’t have to leave. People with innovative ideas move here to start businesses. Established businesses relocate here. And Idea Village is a proven slingshot where entrepreneurs turn business plans into businesses. Two of these recent businesses are called Claimly, and Cluey Consumer.

Tobias Patch is the founder of Claimly. Maryclaire Manard is the founder of Cluey Consumer. And Corey James is Program Director at Idea Village.

Tobias Patch, creator of Claimly, the insurance claim app

Tobias Patch, creator of Claimly, the insurance claim app

Claimly is a mobile and web-based app that helps property owners more successfully navigate and participate in the insurance claim and property restoration process.

Maryclaire Manard, creator of Cluey Consumer, the e-commerce and IRL guide to conscience-clear shopping

Maryclaire Manard, creator of Cluey Consumer, the e-commerce and IRL guide to conscience-clear shopping

Cluey Consumer clues people in on the background information about products they buy, both online and in the real world with three criteria: People Impact. Planet impact. And political contributions.

Corey James, Program Director at New Orleans business incubator, Idea Village

Corey James, Program Director at New Orleans business incubator, Idea Village

Anyone can have a great idea. The difference between entrepreneurs and the rest of us is, entrepreneurs actually do something about that great idea. If you’re brave enough to make the leap from talk to action, even with all the confidence and perseverance you can muster, there are a million bridges to cross before you get anywhere near a million dollars in revenue.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Maryclaire and Tobias are both great examples of entrepreneurs with unique ideas, and the talent, courage, and perseverance to see them through. And the home page of Idea Village’s website declares, “We believe in the future of an exceptional New Orleans.” We’re all with Corey and Team IV on that.

Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch at NOLA Brewing

Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch at NOLA Brewing

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. Photos by Astor Morgan. And meet the CEO of Idea Village, Jon Atkinson, over lunch.