OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
After the oil crash of the mid 80’s, everybody around here realized that for the economy to come back, and for us to have a chance of surviving a future downturn, we’d need to diversify. In other words, we’d have to start up businesses here that employ people in fields other than oil and gas.
That’s easy to say. But we live in a free market economy. Politicians can’t direct people to startup businesses. Nonetheless, look what happened. Another oil crash came along. Just a couple of years ago. It did certainly impact us. But not nearly as badly as the crash in the 80’s. Because, yes, our economy is now diversified.
So, how did that happen? One of the reasons is, if you have an idea for a business outside of oil and gas, you no longer have to leave Acadiana to make it happen. There are now avenues to take you from startup to success. There’s people to help you set up your business and even find investors. Two of those business builders are The Opportunity Machine and Innov8 Acadiana.
Destin Ortego is Program Administrator at the Opportunity Machine.
Pete Prados is Program Director at Innov8 Acadiana.
Tulane University finance professor and host of Out to Lunch New Orleans, Peter Ricchiuti, sits in hosting this episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana for Aileen Bennett.