With a never-ending lineup of festivals and a population that makes good times a top priority, it seems like there would never be time for business in New Orleans. But this city works just as hard as it plays and is rapidly rising to become one of the best places to do business in the South. Home to one of the world's largest ports, a thriving central business district, tax incentives and a creative spirit, more companies are making their home in the Crescent City.
New Orleans has a diverse economy with the main sectors being energy, advanced manufacturing, international trade, healthcare and tourism. Home to internationally-known universities, hospitals and a Bioinnovation Center, the city is also one of the country's top meeting and convention destinations.
Some of the largest companies in New Orleans include: Ochsner Health System, Tulane University, Woodward Design + Build, Entergy Corporation, Whitney Holding Corp.,Boh Bros Construction and Superior Energy Services.
Tourism still remains one of the top revenue generators and contributes almost 43% of the city's sales taxes paid by visitors. Tourism largely led the post-Katrina economic recovery and brings in an average of $8.7 billion per year. More than 17.47 million visitors came to New Orleans in 2017, supporting hundreds of restaurants, hotels and tourism-related businesses and employing tens of thousands of workers.
Many companies and entrepreneurs are attracted to New Orleans because it is a world-class city with a reasonable cost of living. With an abundance of universities, employers can have access to a qualified labor pool and a moderately-priced real estate market means that office and warehouse space can often be found at a discount comparable to other cities. Overall, New Orleans offers businesses more bang for their buck.
GNO, Inc., a regional economic development agency serving the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region, is a great source of information for doing business in the city. The organization can coordinate visits, advise you on incentive programs, provide a dedicated project manager and connect you with business leaders in the region.
The New Orleans Business Alliance, a non-profit organization and the official economic development agency for the City of New Orleans, helps to inform and prepare visitors and locals alike on the many business opportunities that New Orleans has to offer. It promotes New Orleans as the great American city for economic opportunity and quality of life and demonstrates the cross between commerce and culture here in the Crescent City.
The New Orleans Business Alliance’s #WhyNOLA Campaign helps to share the story of why New Orleans is such a great place to start a business, especially from the ground up. See the hashtag #WhyNOLA on social media platforms to read personal stories about careers and business in New Orleans.
In recent years, New Orleans has seen an influx of young professionals and entrepreneurs who viewed the city as a new frontier, creating an increasingly attractive pool of talented professionals. Dozens of digital media businesses have been founded here in the past few years as New Orleans has become a hotbed of business startups.
Organizations such as Idea Village, Net2No, Propeller and Voodoo Ventures are great resources for entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in the city. Held every March, the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week features guests and seminars of interest to start-ups in the Crescent City.
New Orleans Business Alliance
New Orleans Chamber of Commerce
Net2NO (NetSquared New Orleans)
New Orleans Entrepreneur Week
Louisiana Small Business Development Center (Greater New Orleans Region)