An initiative to help train local girls to become leaders and role models in technology won the top prize Thursday at a pitch contest hosted by Propeller, a business incubator that promotes ventures planning to tackle pressing issues facing New Orleans.
The education-focused contest is a part of Propeller’s PitchNOLA series, a string of issue-specific business pitch competitions that in five years has disbursed more than $100,000 to more than 30 social ventures.
Electric Girls, which was selected among 10 semi-finalists, won $5,000. The group plans to use the money to ensure that its cohorts reflect the city's racial demographics and to expand its financial aid offerings. The win marked Electric Girls’ second time on the PitchNOLA stage, having participated at last year’s event.
The contest focused on issues facing local access to quality education. The event was hosted by partners Propeller and 4.0 Schools and presented by the Walton Family Foundation and funded by Omni Air Transport.
RisingFoundations, a small business incubator that provides formerly incarcerated young adults with training and resources to bolster their financial security through self-employment, came in second place, winning $3,000.
The group plans to use the money to make three no-interest, $1,000 loans to its participating entrepreneurs, who will pay it back in $50 installments every two months, in order to generate new loans for future incubator participants.
Overcoming Racism, an effort to develop anti-racist educators who can train youth to work toward eliminating racism, won third place, taking home $2,000.
The group's pitch also was selected by the audience for an additional $500 prize, which was determined by a live text-in vote.
Now active in six Orleans Parish schools, Overcoming Racism plans to use its funding to add up to nine more schools, bringing in upwards of 4,000 more students.