Entrepreneur Week lets New Orleans innovators shine

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 25, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 25 at 7:44 PM

Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- Have you ever said, “I wish I had the idea for that product that’s so simple. Why didn't I think of that?” That’s the focus for hundreds of “idea people," all local and taking part in the third annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, with New Orleans being the winner.

Taylor Galyean lives Uptown, but he dreams of a specialty shower with multiple jets, each with different computer-controlled speed and temperature zones -- hydrotherapy that he believes is ready for the mass market.

“That would be hotels, like boutique hotels, their spas, fitness centers, tennis clubs, golf clubs,” Galyean said. “Eventually we want to enter the luxury home market.”

Taking part in the third annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, Galyean is pitching his idea to venture capitalists from around the country. The winner will be flown out to Silicon Valley in California for meetings with the money people who make ideas – businesses.

And the 300 entrepreneurs who've brought in ideas from green technology to conserving water live here in New Orleans, and want to create business for the region..

“It’s all ranges, but the common thread, they’re all local entrepreneurs,” said Tom Williamson, co-founder of The Idea Village. “They all have an interesting idea. We surround them with a team of people that can support it, and they want to grow it here in New Orleans.”

The idea is to take that idea and turn it into a product, and to turn that product into a business, which is exactly what has happened here in Kenner.

In 2007, after getting kicked off the beach for having a glass bottle, three young guys from Kenner had an idea.

“And his thought was, ‘Wow. I’m just going to put alcohol in a pouch,” said Sal LaMartina, CEO of Big Easy Blends.

That idea is now the Cordina Company, with lemon lime and strawberry flavored margaritas in a pouch. Last year they won the entrepreneur contest.

“And they looked at our product and they said this is just so simple, and it works and it can spread so quickly,” LaMartina said.

Today their start-up company has eight employees here, and that's growing everyday, as well as a sales force to handle the 30 states where their product is now sold.

Everything in their warehouse isn't waiting to be sold. It already is.

“We're just not looking back,” LaMartina said. “The product is growing by leaps and bounds every single day.”

And it all started, like most do and many will in the future, with a simple idea.

The winning company is called "Innovate." Again, it's local. It created a medical device that shields the umbilical cord from infection.

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