Business incubator Propeller and Tulane University have announced 10 semifinalists that will pitch ideas this month at a live competition for a chance to win $10,000 in seed money.
Propeller, which focuses on ventures that aim to tackle pressing issues facing New Orleans, will host PitchNOLA 2016, a competition for locals to offer solutions to challenges in workforce development, children and families, social justice and the environment.
The competition will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 28 at Tulane’s Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center. Tickets are free, but there is a suggested $5 donation to fund an additional award determined by an audience vote.
The $10,000 in seed funding is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Since the inaugural PitchNOLA competition in 2009, Propeller has launched a series of competitions that have tackled issues including health, education and land use, and has contributed more than $80,000 to 27 ventures.
Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges, including Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund; Tulane professor Peter Ricchiuti, who hosts of WWNO’s Out to Lunch program; and Carmen James, vice president of programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The semifinalists are:
Blessing Micro Shelter, represented by Haiyan Khan, which provides dignity and privacy to the homeless population by providing a self-sufficient, zero-cost shelter with necessary services.
Dishroom Heroes, represented by Jeff Gulotta, a social enterprise dedicated to helping disadvantaged men and women break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and recidivism through on-the-job training in the New Orleans food service industry.
Food Justice Collaborative, represented by Chika Kondo, Arieanna Knight and Ron Triggs, a youth farmers’ cooperative aimed at building food sovereignty and practicing cooperative economics to address the root causes of why communities are not able to access fresh local produce.
Fund 17, represented by Haley Burns, a nonprofit organization that fights opportunity inequality in the 17 wards of New Orleans by providing financial and educational tools for self-empowerment to underserved entrepreneurs.
Groundwork New Orleans: Green Grounds Krewe, represented by Alicia Neal, which provides workforce development training to young adults to create skilled labor in green infrastructure design, installation and maintenance, and stormwater management.
IDIYA Labs, represented by Domenic Giunta and Andrew Winstead, which provides equipment, education, career pathways and workspace to help workers acquire new skills in high-wage, high-demand careers.
Project 18, represented by Sonya Brown and Bonnie DeSalle, which provides services to transitioning and aged-out foster care teens.
Roots of Renewal, represented by Lilith Winkler-Schor, a community development organization that provides work training for recently released young adults through the renovation of a blighted property in Central City, which will be sold to a first-time homeowner.
Upturn Arts, represented by Dana Reed, a collaborative arts education space for children.
Young Creative Agency, represented by Alberta Wright, which provides teens with paid employment in the creative economy.