Sugar cane water, seafood, healthy groceries and a wearable health care device caught the attention of judges in four business pitch contests held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
And it’s not over; 10 businesses still were competing Friday night as part of Entrepreneur Week’s Blackstone Big Idea contest.
Those that won contests earlier in the week are:
FRESHCANE: The company, which produces sugar cane water at farmers markets around the region, won the JEDCO Challenge held by the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission and First NBC Bank, in partnership with the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
Arpit Bhopalkar, FreshCane’s founder who earned an MBA from Tulane, was an international athlete in table tennis. The drink of choice for athletes in his home country of India was sugar cane water as a natural source of nutrients and energy.
FreshCane won $20,000 in cash and $45,000 in donated business services. The company plans to expand around the greater New Orleans area and launch FreshCane as a bottled product.
REHABBIT: Dr. Aaron Wolfson, a psychologist with Jefferson Neurobehavioral Group in Metairie, won Ochsner Health System and GE Healthcare’s “Wear Your Health” Innovation Challenge. Using ReHabbit, physicians will be able to track and monitor a patient’s pain medication usage through a Bluetooth-enabled smart pill dispenser and can intervene if medication isn’t being taken properly.
Wolfson received $1,000 as a finalist and is eligible for up to $15,000 in funding to collaborate with GE Healthcare and Ochsner toward developing his technology.
GATOR AND CRANE: Gator and Crane is a Covington-based, membership-only grocery club that buys healthy-living products in bulk to improve prices and convenience for its members. The company offers local seasonal produce and home goods to club members while supporting local farmers, fishers, ranchers and food producers. The company also lets shoppers exchange food waste and excessive packaging for store credit.
The startup won two competitions: the Chaffe Entrepreneur Challenge Award and Get Started Louisiana. The Chaffe challenge had a top prize of $25,000 in free legal services and organization/structure advice provided by Chaffe McCall LLP, in a contest that involved The Idea Village. Get Started Louisiana, sponsored by Cox Business and Inc. magazine, gave a $10,000 prize that included cash and Cox Business services.
CHRISTIE’S DREAMS SEAFOOD: The company won Startup St. Bernard’s $110,000 in cash and services in a contest held by The Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. Christie’s Dreams plans to launch a line of St. Bernard Parish-branded seafood.
The company will freeze and package fresh shrimp and soft-shell crabs caught in the parish for sale initially at local farmers markets in Louisiana and to its existing wholesale customers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Christie’s will create a website to sell the seafood throughout the United States.