Economic Development and Startups Collide in New Orleans

Written By

Chris Richards


June 6, 2017



As an agency, Cohere not only focuses on property-specific branding, marketing, and placemaking projects, but is engaged in the “big picture” conversation of economic development in our cities.

With clients such as the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP), growth is all about making the right connections. Alexandria, VA is a hotbed of economic development – and being located just outside of the nation’s capital, there’s good reason why. AEDP traveled to the Collision Conference this year in New Orleans to present this opportunity to the world and connect with startups and small businesses.

Their chief of staff Ryan Touhill saw the conference as a success for the organization and its partners – he and the AEDP team have been very forward-thinking in this approach, making it a priority to expose the city’s assets to a wider audience. Through conferences such as Collision and SXSW, they’re able to tout the benefits of growing your business in Alexandria, which Ryan reflected on in a post-event recap:

Grow Alexandria

“Last week, for the second consecutive year, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) joined over 10,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and tech industry leaders at Collision in New Orleans. Similar to last year, the AEDP team engaged members of the tech startup community to promote the growing tech ecosystem in Alexandria and across the DC Region as a great place to locate their emerging companies. This year we took things a step further and sponsored five local startups who are current or recent participants in AEDP’s business acceleration program BOOST Alexandria. Bringing these founders allowed us to extend the reach of the Alexandria brand and also gave each startup important access to investors, partners, mentors, and clients.

Created last September in partnership with Ray Crowell, Mary Iafelice, and Harry Alford of Humble Ventures, BOOST is a 13 week acceleration program that uses proven accelerator models and curriculum to help startups stabilize, scale, and grow. The program is ideal for early-stage startups with small founding teams who have a proven minimal viable product and demonstrated traction in the market.

The goal of BOOST is to foster the development of high-growth startups and create economic resiliency in Alexandria. With this goal in mind, and unlike other accelerator programs, AEDP currently offers BOOST at no cost to startups who qualify and does not take equity in participating companies. Humble’s role is to recruit and screen companies who are typically from underserved communities and led by top minority, female, and military veteran talent. Humble also designs the curriculum, administers the program, and provides critical connections to the investor community.

Sponsoring 5 early-stage startups at “America’s fastest growing tech conference” made perfect sense because it allows companies to meet with thousands of members of the global startup community in one location over 3 days. All 5 companies showcased their products for one full day of the conference, and took advantage of forums to meet one-on-one with potential investors and mentors. Two companies also had opportunities to pitch and receive feedback from experts and audience members. Combined, these resources and opportunities provide valuable connections and feedback that should translate into positive growth for these early-stage companies.

From an economic development standpoint, BOOST garnered tons of interest from startups who wish to participate in future cohorts, investors who see the benefit of developing a pipeline of local companies, and other cities and states who are trying to develop their own startup ecosystems. This attention also provided AEDP the opportunity to communicate many of the other great features of Alexandria to individuals from across the globe. Ultimately we hope our presence at Collision helps us with new business development by attracting even more highly talented entrepreneurs to our city so we can #GrowALX.”

Written by Ryan Touhill, Chief of Staff, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. See original post here.