On March 14, a group of 27 individuals arrived in New Orleans to test how closely the world's perceptions of the city aligned with its reality as an emerging center of business innovation and entrepreneurship.

Over five days, NOLAbounders from 11 states visited with the business owners, community leaders, and....." />
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NOLAbound Changes Perceptions of New Orleans Through Social Media and Docu-Tourism

Program Reaches Nearly One Million Twitter Accounts in Five Days With Impressions of the New Orleans Entrepreneurial and Business Communities (April 04, 2012)

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (Marketwire) -- 04/04/12 -- On March 14, a group of 27 individuals arrived in New Orleans to test how closely the world's perceptions of the city aligned with its reality as an emerging center of business innovation and entrepreneurship.

Over five days, NOLAbounders from 11 states visited with the business owners, community leaders, and entrepreneurs remaking the New Orleans business community -- asking questions, uncovering opportunities, and telling the rest of the world what they found. All participants were asked to share their observations of and insights into New Orleans and its entrepreneurial community through their own social media networks. The results were stunning. From March 12 to 19, the NOLAbound program accrued the following social media statistics:

  • 194 contributors on Twitter using the #beNOLAbound hashtag;
  • 1,345 tweets from contributors;
  • An audience of nearly 1 million unique Twitter accounts receiving tweets;
  • More than 2.5 million total Twitter impressions;
  • A Klout score of 56.32 in just 90 days for the @beNOLAbound account.

But perhaps the most compelling outcome was that the 27 individuals who began the program as skeptical observers were turned into passionate fans of New Orleans and believers in its renaissance as a model city for entrepreneurs. To help measure changing perceptions of the city amongst participants, NOLAbound surveyed all 27 individuals on a scale of 1-10 before and after the program regarding the same key issues or components of New Orleans. Findings include:

  • Participants rating New Orleans as having a Vibrant Entrepreneurial Community increased +33.3% to 8.4 out of 10;
  • The largest percentage perception shift was a +42.4% change regarding Strong Political Ethics Standards;
  • The second largest change was +38.0% for those ranking the city as Safe;
  • Highest-ranking exit interview categories included Rich Culture, Welcoming to Visitors, Economically Important for US, and Quality Education System.

Visit the NOLAbound website and click on the participants to read more personal reactions to New Orleans from each of the participants in their own words: http://www.benolabound.com/participants.


"The 'beta run' of the NOLAbound program was an inspiring experience for everyone involved," said NOLAbound spokesperson Curry W. Smith. "We are humbled that these remarkable individuals took time out of their busy professional lives to learn more about a great American city and to help us advance the cause of New Orleans as a destination for today's best and brightest minds. Their passion, enthusiasm, and insights will help us continue to push forward as we expand this movement and work to build an even better community."

The participants and their entire five-day experience were also filmed, and the resulting documentary will premiere in October 2012 during the annual New Orleans Film Festival. Visit the NOLAbound website for more details later this summer.

NOLAbound is a joint program of The Downtown Development District of New Orleans, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and The Idea Village, and is made possible with generous funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. This first edition of NOLAbound selected 27 individuals from a pool of nearly 200 people to represent and assess four emerging industries in New Orleans: arts-based businesses, biosciences, digital media, and sustainable industries.

The program was aligned with the fourth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event that connects national venture capital firms and investors, leading corporations, and MBA students from around the country with local innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups.

For more information on NOLAbound, please visit benolabound.com. NOLAbound can also be found on Twitter @benolabound and on facebook.com/benolabound.

About NOLAbound
NOLAbound is a joint project of the Downtown Development District, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and The Idea Village. NOLAbound is made possible with generous funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. This unique program will find 27 individuals to experience, document, and share their unfiltered impressions of New Orleans as an entrepreneurial epicenter. This bold program will focus on professionals within four industry sectors: arts-based businesses, biosciences, digital media, and sustainable industries, and will leverage the power of social media to both gather applicants and enable them to share their experiences in New Orleans. Timed to coincide with the 4th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, NOLAbound will give participants the opportunity to interact with the people, culture, and businesses in New Orleans that are driving its growing reputation as a center of entrepreneurial excellence. The entire one-of-a-kind experience will be documented on film.

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