How can small and big business work together to build strong communities and profits? Small businesses form a vital part of the American economy and market. In December 2015, businesses with under 50 employees created 93,000 jobs in the US, making them an important source of post-recession job growth.
That’s not to say it’s an easy job being a small-scale entrepreneur – Bloomberg found that a staggering 80 percent of people who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce is hoping to defy that trend by partnering with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) of Louisiana.
Having identified New Orleans as a national leader in small business activity – boasting a per capita startup rate that is 56 percent higher than the national average – the organization’s goal is to support the local business community to reach its potential by providing them with the ideas, resources and strategic partnerships they need to grow.
To put this in context, some 92 percent of the Chamber’s members are small businesses, with two-thirds having less than five employees. As anyone who has headed a small firm can likely attest, the right partnerships can deliver many important benefits, including lower startup costs, more capital for the business, an improved credit rating and a greater range of ideas and perspectives.
The EO is well-positioned to help locals find the right business partner, being comprised of 150 chapters across 48 countries. Resources provided by the Louisiana chapter to local business include an accelerator, mentorship programs, networking events and a lecture series.
Along with the EO, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce has also struck up alliances with a number of other organizations that are able to provide a range of partnership resources to entrepreneurs and startups.
These include the Good Work Network, LifeCity and Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, which has already attracted around 5500 participants nationwide.
Rebuilding local business
As well as helping local businesses grow faster and achieve sustainability, partner-supported entrepreneurship can have a positive impact in the local community, fostering economic development and renewal where it is most needed.
Hurricane Katrina compounded many of the economic challenges that New Orleans had been facing for decades, including high poverty, structural unemployment and a low-diversity economy. The region’s recent upsurge in entrepreneurial activity has seen it achieve significant growth in a range of areas, including advanced manufacturing, bioscience, health services and digital media.
New Orleans also has a distinct geographic advantage when it comes to foreign trade by being situated at the mouth of the Mississippi River and serving as an important hub for nationwide freight.
According to the New Orleans Business Alliance, some of the biggest recent economic development projects in the area have been supported by foreign direct investment (FDI), with the city’s growing reputation as a center for innovation making it an ideal base for foreign companies planning to set up operations in the US. An example is Paris-based gaming company Gameloft, which recently set up its first North American development and operations center in New Orleans.
One of the key challenges many small businesses face is promoting their business to potential partners who may be unfamiliar with the local region and the economic benefits it can offer. This is where the business-matching capabilities of a service like Powerlinx can help meet your partnership marketing needs.
See our five collaboration case studies of success for some inspiring real-life examples of how strategic partnerships can help grow your business.