Dr. Johnson Kicks off New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week

Opportunity Hub is joining forces with Greater New Orleans, Inc., The Biden-Harris Administration’s Economic Development Administration and Louisiana Economic Development as a part of the “H2 the Future Build Back Better Hydrogen Energy Innovation Initiative” to launch a New Energy Technology Incubator, prioritizing racial equity in innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.

OHUB will host a monthly networking event and speaker series called  #OHUBFridays to scale the equity in New Orleans’s emerging tech, startup & venture ecosystem while investing millions in Black vendors and technology startups on an annual basis.

NEW ORLEANSOpportunity Hub (OHUB) is joining forces with Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Louisiana Economic Development as a part of the “H2 the Future Build Back Better Hydrogen Energy Innovation Initiative” and the State Small Business Credit Initiative to launch a New Energy Technology Incubator (NETI), to prioritize racial equity in innovation in the region. Each year, the NETI will invest up to $500,000 in five new energy technology venture-backable, high-growth startups in New Orleans.

To build momentum for the program, OHUB is launching #OHUBFridays, a monthly authentic networking event and speaker series to connect the region’s emerging Black, Hispanic and Indigenous innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.

Dr. Lonnie Johnson, Inventor of Super Soaker, Rocket Scientist, and Founder of JTECH Energy and Professor Rodney Sampson, Inventor of Linear Streaming, Executive Chairman of OHUB, General Partner of 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund, Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution are the featured speakers at the kick-off celebration on Friday, March 31st at NOLA Art Bar during New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week.

Subsequent events will take place on the first Friday of the month, starting in May. The monthly event will be live in person and streamed via the OHUB ecosystem app.

“OHUB is excited to launch its proven model for building Black innovation, startup and venture ecosystems from the ground up. Recent federal funding from EDA’s Build Back Better and Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative into organizations like OHUB helps ensure that all of New Orleans and beyond is equitably included in the future of opportunity,” says Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman of OHUB.

“Data doesn’t lie. When I go into a region, I always ask leaders to tell me how many Black founders have raised over a million dollars in venture capital or generated a million in recurring revenue for their startups. It’s typically few to none and this is where we work to create change.”

Techcrunch’s Dominic-Madori Davis reports that just 1% of all venture capital goes to Black-founded high-growth firms. In New Orleans, the percentage of Black founders raising equity capital is even less than the national average.

New Orleans is home to successful Black technology entrepreneurs like Sevetri Wilson who raised nearly $50 million in venture capital for her SaaS startup, Resilia. OHUB aims to increase the number of Black-owned venture-backed startups in the region by 10x over the next four years. The federal funding of $3 million via the Economic Development Administration’s$1Billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge from Greater New Orleans, Inc. and $1 million investment into 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund via the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) from Louisiana Economic Development via United States Treasury Department will be catalytic in reaching these metrics.

Greater New Orleans, Inc. and its coalition of 25 organizations across south Louisiana was awarded $50 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The federal grant will be supplemented by $24.5 million in matching funds from the State of Louisiana, bringing the total project size to $74.5 million.

“GNO, Inc. is thrilled to welcome OHUB into the Louisiana market as part of our H2theFuture initiative. H2theFuture is a catalytic opportunity for our workforce, industries, and start-ups to create sustainable returns for Louisiana by embracing the energy evolution,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Through OHUB, Louisiana has an opportunity to develop a diverse, equitable entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem that directly supports the renewable energy transition occurring locally and globally.”

In a Shark Tank-style diligence process, NETI’s startup support programming will introduce 100 aspiring high-growth new energy, climate, hydrogen and sustainability company builders to the best practices for ideation, design thinking and business model generation; and will take 50 startups through its High Growth Company Building Certificate taught by Fearless Fund Senior Partner and Trajectory Author, Dave Parker. Upon completion, founders will be ready to pitch investors and set up business development meetings with target customers. Five high-growth, new energy startups will receive up to $100,000 each in seed-stage investment. A demo day and fundraising event will be planned annually during New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week. These founders will have an actionable framework for raising their seed rounds and connections to a local and national network of investors committed to investing in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

High-growth company building and early-stage equity investment are powerful tools to grow local and global economies while narrowing the racial wealth gap. OHUB x NOLA will deliver these tools.

About Opportunity Hub (OHUB)

Opportunity Hub (OHUB), co-founded in 2013 in Atlanta, GA by Rodney and Shanterria Sampson as a follow-up to the highly successful Kingonomics’conferences in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC grew to become the largest Black-owned multi-campus entrepreneurship center and technology hub in the United States definitively focused on diversity, inclusion and equity as a business development and investment thesis for the upskilling of in-demand technical talent, new high growth company building and innovative capital formation as a path to creating shared prosperity and multi-generational wealth creation for everyone, everywhere in the future of work, fourth industrial revolution and beyond. Each year, thousands of people learn, engage, build & work via the OHUB ecosystem. Learn more about how OHUB is leading the charge to scale racial equity in the fourth industrial revolution at OpportunityHub.co and download the new ecosystem app at www.EcosystemApp.co

About 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund

The mission of 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund I is to align smart, affluent, innovative and skilled Black and ally capital to build a scalable and sustainable Black technology, startup entrepreneurship and venture ecosystem that powers a global Diasporic engine and platform to ensure that Black people everywhere are equitably represented at all levels in the future of work, startup ecosystem and forthcoming 4th Industrial Revolution as a definitive path to decreasing income inequality and the racial wealth gap.

About Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Greater New Orleans, Inc. is the regional economic development nonprofit organization serving the 10-parish region of Southeast Louisiana that includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. GNO, Inc. works together with the business community; local, state, and federal governments; and other regional stakeholders to coordinate, consolidate, and catalyze action on key issues and opportunities that maximize job and wealth creation and retention, are relevant to the region as a whole, and create systematic impact. You can read more at GNOInc.org.

About Economic Development Administration

To lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. This foundation builds upon two key economic drivers – innovation and regional collaboration. Innovation is key to global competitiveness, new and better jobs, a resilient economy, and the attainment of national economic goals. Regional collaboration is essential for economic recovery because regions are the centers of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses will fare better than those that do not. EDA encourages its partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions.

About LED

Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, rated the No. 1 customized workforce training program in the U.S. 13 years in a row. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.

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March 23, 2023
Angela L. Young, ALY Media Relations, alymediarelationsllc@gmail.com