Brothers Empowered to Teach took home the top $5,000 prize in a live PitchNOLA competition this week that was focused on workforce development, children and families, social justice and the environment.

BE2T works to close the achievement gap for at-risk students by inspiring and getting men of color to choose education as a career, starting in New Orleans. Prize money will be used to fund stipends for two of the 15 local college sophomores who will launch the program as fellows in fall 2015.

The second-place prize of $3,000 went to unCommon Construction, which also earned a $640 audience favorite award. The nonprofit builds houses with high school apprentices and uses the profits to provide them with expanded college and career opportunities. In the next year, uCC will acquire real estate and complete the construction of one house and one apprenticeship cycle with up to 12 apprentices from five New Orleans schools.

Gator & Crane took the third-place prize of $2,000. The company will promote healthy and sustainable living by exchanging food waste for nutritious groceries at a location downtown.

The three were among 10 semi-finalists and a guest social entrepreneur who pitched their ideas at the competition for seed funding Wednesday.

Cash prizes were provided by the Lang Family Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and audience donations. The competition was co-hosted by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation and Tulane University’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching and A.B. Freeman School of Business.