Interview with Business Plan Winner Ishaneka Williams

What prompted you to enter the competition?

I am a native New Orleanian so working to eliminate the ‘brain drain’ and loss of talent from the city is very dear to me. I wanted to be a part of the solution and the competition gave us that opportunity. I love my city, it’s the only place where you can have a ‘Blue Monday’ and no one is crying. We are so inviting and warm here, temperature wise and just in attitude, and I want to be sure that everyone has that experience. So entering the competition and creating PlayNOLA gives me the opportunity to highlight the essence of New Orleans while presenting a solution.

How did you come up with the concept?

When we first thought of what we should do economic development, housing, and jobs were the definite concepts that were at the forefront of our mind. But after much consideration we realized that an equally important factor important to young professionals is quality of life. So PlayNOLA Sports and Entertainment Group addresses the issue of lifestyle creation as an economic development tool by allowing young professionals to connect.

What was it like when they called your name as the winner?

It was out of this world! We went in confident and had the feeling that we were going to win. playNOLA is a vision bigger than ourselves and being aware of that fueled the work that we put into it.

What will be your first plan of action to implement your business plan?

The first plan of action is to plan. We want to be sure that everything that we envision our venture to be happens seamlessly. playNOLA will officially launch this fall.

Williams also made sure to note that two Tulane professors, Yiorgos Bakamitsos and Karen Foust, were helpful as she formulated her ideas. If you make the wise choice to attend Tulane next year, you will get the opportunity to learn marketing from Bakamitsos and Accounting from Foust.