Capital One Bank-Supported ‘Culture-Up’ Incubator Gives New Orleans Creative Businesses A Boost

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Building

NEW ORLEANS – Through a successful partnership between Capital One Bank, the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation (LCEF), the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and the New Orleans Downtown Development District for the Culture-Up incubator in New Orleans, six local businesses are kicking off 2017 in a big way.

         Culture-Up was created as an innovation incubator that encourages people in the creative industries to develop their businesses and business ideas, reps said. Some examples of professionals in the creative industries include artists, musicians, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals, writers, digital media developers, filmmakers, tour developers and more. Members have access to the workspace for two years, and during that time are offered business trainings, like the recent Creating Profits from Passion “boot camp” based on Capital One Bank’s Getting Down to Business program for small businesses. Members also receive a one-year membership with the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce.

         Culture-Up offers shared offices and access to meeting rooms with full AV capabilities, free internet, a mailing address and more than a dozen mentors with a diverse range of skills and experience. The offices are located in LEH’s historic building on Lafayette Street in Downtown New Orleans that is also home to the LCEF, several other nonprofit organizations and businesses.

         As a result of going through the boot camp and working alongside mentors, current members have received the skills needed to launch, maintain and grow their businesses, Culture-Up reps said. Incubator members receive technical assistance in critical business management areas such as managing credit, budgeting, business planning, accounting software tools, marketing, information technology and financing options. Other trainings include an upcoming QuickBooks class and digital marketing boot camp.

         “Capital One Bank, LCEF and LEH have essentially created a new support ecosystem that is targeted to our creative industries, which have a huge economic impact on Louisiana,” Aimee Smallwood, CEO, LCEF, said. “Not only do our members gain skills to grow their businesses, but they also develop peer relationships and confidence in their abilities.”

         Businesses currently participating in Culture-Up include:


• Two Girls One Shuck, a full amenities traveling oyster bar that proudly serves fresh Gulf Coast oysters in a catering-style approach. Two Girls One Shuck supports regional seafood with a team of all-female shuckers.

• Culturalyst is an online platform that connects local artists with individuals in New Orleans who are fans or who want to see the creative sector thrive. Through the Culturalyst website, patrons can directly support artists and other creative professionals in exchange for exclusive content. Providing a space for fans and artists to connect supports the economy, strengthens the community and makes it easier to discover and support new culture.

• Cocoa & Cream is a mobile food trailer and licensed catering service currently operating in greater New Orleans. The mobile trailer is able to travel to different locations in the area providing a wide variety of delicious New Orleans cuisine. Cocoa & Cream is excited to announce the addition of a second mobile trailer this March.

• New TourLeans is a sightseeing company that officially launches this month. Four guests can ride in the comfort of an exclusive electric and solar-powered vehicle throughout the French Quarter. This tour tells the chronological story of New Orleans and covers a lot more ground in a much shorter period, while also taking guests into some of the featured venues to give a depth of experience that can only be acquired by taking a closer look. The electric vehicle is equipped with high-definition monitors that allow visitors to view “snapshots in time” of places and historic figures to learn about during the tour.

• Café Dauphine is an authentic New Orleans restaurant with a goal of reviving the Ninth Ward dining experience and bringing good, quality food paired with a friendly atmosphere to the historic neighborhood. The restaurant is ready to expand to Phase 2 to grow its business, which will include opening for breakfast, increasing catering and exploring the option of operating a food truck. As a newcomer to Culture-Up, the restaurant wants to develop a new marketing plan to build additional sales and relationships with its present and future customers.

• Crescent City Media Group is a community engagement and media production agency serving public interest and policy advocacy utilizing the arts to inform and influence action in communities of color across Louisiana. The group’s current project is a multi-media film on Buddy Bolden, who is generally considered to be the first bandleader to play the improvised music, which later became known as Jazz.


         “In the past 10 months, Culture-Up has created a nexus for Louisiana culture in the rebirth of the Central Business District and enhances opportunities for program participants to do big things,” Karen Deblieux, Southeast Louisiana Market President for Capital One Bank, said. “Capital One prides itself on delivering programs, products and solutions that benefit individuals, businesses, nonprofits and the community as a whole, and Culture-Up is a great example of how we bring this to life in greater New Orleans.”

         Culture-Up is also supported by the New Orleans Downtown Development District, Louisiana Economic Development, Entergy New Orleans, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council.

         For more information


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