Idea Village Accepting Applications for VILLAGEx

Group Shot Of Entrepreneurs

NEW ORLEANS – The Idea Village is now accepting applications for VILLAGEx 2023, an advanced accelerator for Gulf Coast companies who are ready to scale their seed or series A startup. Selected companies will join the four-month program when it kicks off early next year. Founders will be connected to a curated network of mentors, coaches and industry experts who will provide peer networking, structured advisory boards, capital development, pitch coaching, deck design and more.

“The goal of VILLAGEx is to provide our region’s next generation of founders the essential mentorship and resources that enable them to scale their startup rapidly,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of the Idea Village. “The collective impact of these companies on the greater New Orleans and Gulf Coast region will be more good jobs, advancements in the region’s economy, increased investment opportunities, and the opportunity to further New Orleans’ brand as a place where startups can grow and thrive.”

VILLAGEx applications will be accepted until Nov. 11, 2022.  Startups are selected based on a venture’s ability to prove it is:

  • Rapidly scaling or has the potential for high-growth
  • Serving a new or niche market in an innovative way
  • Incorporating technology to solve a problem or improve a process
  • Offering a new or unproven business model with the potential to revolutionize a particular industry

The 2023 VILLAGEx accelerator cohort will be selected by an external panel of startup experts and community stakeholders along with members of The Idea Village team. From January to May 2023, each VILLAGEx company will work closely with an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, who will provide intensive hours of direct mentorship. VILLAGEx founders will also work closely with an Investor-in-Residence, general mentors, and a customized Advisory Board, who will guide company teams as they work to increase scalability. In addition to mentorship, the VILLAGEx 2023 cohort will have regular opportunities to network, and develop meaningful peer-to-peer relationships along the way.

“VILLAGEx entrepreneurs are the future business leaders of our region,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village. “As these founders go through the VILLAGEx program, they learn from each other and look to one another for advice and best practices. They not only form lifelong friendships, but a symbiotic professional network as well,” he said.

“It takes a village. The Idea Village certainly helped us find ours and put us a full year ahead strategically. Our entire team is grateful for the opportunity to participate,” said Christa Cotton, El Guapo, VILLAGEx 2021 Founder.

Select VILLAGEx founders will also have the opportunity to pitch and present their company at IDEApitch, the highly competitive pitch competition that takes place during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) every March. Last year, three companies in the VILLAGEx 2022 cohort received a collective $750,000 in investment prizes through participating in IDEApitch. Those companies were Jamm Around, Iconic Moments and Cluey Consumer, with each company receiving between $175,000 – $400,000 of committed capital to their next fundraising round, provided they meet certain fundraising benchmarks within 18 months to unlock the funding. Last year’s substantial investment was initiated by two VILLAGEx alums, Scott Wolfe (Levelset) and Patrick Comer (Lucid), who joined together with fellow investors to invest in the next generation of New Orleans startups, after Lucid and Levelset sold for a combined $1.5 billion in 2021. 

“The Idea Village changed my life, period. They gave me everything I needed to succeed and showed me how to best utilize the skills and tools I already had. I learned so much in such a short time and I am forever thankful to the organization and staff,” said Donovan Williams, JammAround, VILLAGEx 2022 Founder.

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