Five finalists will compete for a $110,000 prize package in a business pitch competition organizerd by Startup St. Bernard.
The prize package includes cash and in-kind services designed to help propel the winner’s business to the next level.
The finalists are:
- Atlas Mechanical Design LLC: The company is focusing on 3-D model creation and 3-D printing solutions in St. Bernard Parish.
- Christie’s Dreams Seafood: The existing local business hopes to produce a St. Bernard Parish-branded seafood product line by flash-freezing and packaging locally caught fresh shrimp and soft shell crabs. Products would be sold initially at local farmers markets throughout Louisiana, then to existing wholesale customers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania and eventually nationally.
- Girls Gone Vegan: The bakery specializes in gluten-free and vegan desserts, pastries and breads as well as low-sugar and sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan options. The business plans to expand to a full-service bakery and sell to restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores throughout the state.
- Kayak-iti-Yat: The eco-tourism business will offer fishing-kayak rentals as well as ecology and seafood industry-centered guided kayak tours using shared resources with St. Bernard residents, incuding fishing kayaks, a central website and shuttle van.
- The Coffee House: The business has been open for about six months as a drive-through coffee shop in Arabi and wants to expand operations to include an indoor cafe serving food, working with local vendors.
The finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. March 14 at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm at 5128 E. St. Bernard Highway in Violet. The event is free and open to the public with registration at noew.org.
Startup St. Bernard was open to any business that agreed to locate its base of operations in St. Bernard Parish. The challenge was organized by the Meraux Foundation, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation and The Idea Village. Supporting partners include Nunez Community College, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce and Leadership St. Bernard.