NOLATech Week Returns
In 2013, the “unconference” attracted more than 1,000 visitors from 33 cities around the world.
“New Orleans does tech, but mixes it with a flavor that industry leaders are proud to be a part of.”
– Jason Seidman,
CEO of NOLATech Week
As two of the 8 million tourists to visit New Orleans in 2009, my husband and I lingered over a belt-popping pizza and a pitcher of beer at Slice Pizzeria on St. Charles Ave. Our waitress wisely advised us – two Australian dreamers she had been waiting on for the past hour – to stay for awhile. New Orleans was starting to change; Hollywood and the techs were moving in.
Since we made this city our home five years ago, tourism has been steadily picking up speed. In 2013 alone, New Orleans welcomed 9.28 million visitors, at an economic impact of $6.47 billion.
“New Orleans is a great city that people have always loved to visit, but it is also has a lot to offer from a quality of life perspective,” says Lauren Carson, director of communications, marketing and governmental affairs at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This really helps in attracting new businesses, technology and entrepreneurial start ups, which are such a big part of the business makeup of New Orleans, and it is growing.”
In an effort to lure more tech-savvy tourists, and possibly future residents, to New Orleans, the CVB has recently partnered with a newcomer to the New Orleans conference scene, NOLATech Week – held this year from October 5 through October 11.
Dubbed an ‘unconference,’ NOLATech Week engages attendees with an alternative environment to the mass seminar experience. In addition to traditional conference spaces, events will be held in bars and restaurants. Registration is free for participants.
“We want to develop events and venues that cover the full scope of the neighborhoods around New Orleans,” says Jason Seidman, CEO of NOLATech Week. “After all, the culture around this city is a huge factor in attracting new opportunities for growth.”
Launched in 2013, NOLATech Week’s more than 40 events attracted over 1,000 attendees from 33 cities around the world. Now a non-profit organization that counts as just one of the 52 businesses Seidman aims to launch this year as part of a venture he began March 17 called, aptly, “52businesses,” Seidman says he expects this year’s week of events to surpass last year, especially since partnering with the CVB.
“Every city can provide a platform for the tech industry to grow,” he says. “However, New Orleans provides the environment to cultivate growth while eating a poor boy, or going to Jazz Fest. New Orleans does tech, but mixes it with a flavor that industry leaders are proud to be a part of.”
Metro Area Stats
Tech jobs up 19 percent between 2005 and 2012 – six times the national average
Named “America’s Brainiest City” for attracting people under age 25 with college degrees – tie with San Antonio (Forbes, 2014)
Number 1 Metro Area for Job Growth in the USA (Brookings Institution, 2014)