New program to help St. Tammany start-up businesses, build entrepreneurship –

Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village
Jon Atkinson (
Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village
Jon Atkinson (
A new 10-week program that aims to give north shore entrepreneurs and potential startup founders the tools to create a business plan will launch Sept. 4, part of a partnership with St. Tammany Corp., the parish’s economic development agency, and The Idea Village.
The partnership is key to St. Tammany Corp.’s efforts to grow entrepreneurship on the north shore, according to a news release.
“This partnership with The Idea Village is a key component of our Startup Northshore initiative that strives to advance our strategic business formation and business retention efforts,” said Chris Masingill.
The Startup Northshore initiative, a three-year pilot program, is supported by Chevron and Citizens National Bank.
The partnership with The Idea Village will bring technical business development support for entrepreneurs from a nationally recognized leader to north shore-area businesses, Masingill said.
“The momentum of regional entrepreneurship shows that good ideas don’t know parish lines,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village, which is based in New Orleans.
Participants will benefit from The Idea Village’s experience; the organization also hopes to connect participants with other north shore startups, business coaches, mentors and investors who are closer to home, he said.
Each week’s session will be run virtually, with an opportunity to engage in person in the final week. It will be led by Felipe Massa, professor of management and entrepreneurship at Loyola University New Orleans, and produced by The Idea Village in collaboration with local partners.
“The entrepreneurial ecosystem in southeastern Louisiana has evolved significantly in the past two decades, and we are excited to intentionally engage with well-respected regional partners to bring their expertise to the north shore,” said Marty Mayer, St. Tammany Corp. board president.
The Idea Village envisions a hub-and-spoke network that will bring startup resources to all communities within the region, according to the news release, which calls St. Tammany Corp. it’s the first “spoke” partner.
The program is accepting applications.
The public is invited to the free St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s Explore Northshore: Business and Community Expo from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at The Northshore Harbor Center, 100 Harbor Center Blvd., Slidell.
With almost 100 exhibitors, the expo offers visitors a one-stop shop for information about goods and services available to them. Attendees can view the exhibits, network, talk with business and community representatives, register for door prizes and giveaways, enjoy family-friendly activities and donate blood via The Blood Center.
“In addition to the exhibits, this year’s expo offers a variety of new activities,” said Jessica Hester, the chamber’s operations director. “Fire Protection District No. 1 is bringing the Fire Safety House. It offers a unique opportunity to experience simulated smoke conditions in a homelike setting.”
Other activities include:
Explore Northshore is made possible by its sponsors: Slidell Memorial Hospital, Ochsner Health, The Times-Picayune/St. Tammany Farmer/, American Bank & Trust, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Northshore Media Group. Sound by Rock-It Productions.
For more information, call (985) 892-3216, email or visit
The Lacombe Branch of the St. Tammany Parish Library will close be closed from Aug. 26 through Sept. 8 for interior updates and maintenance. New carpet, new furniture items, new paint, as well as plumbing and electrical maintenance, are scheduled.
Patrons can visit one of the other 11 branches while the Lacombe Branch is closed. Find a branch at
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