Thirteen companies are competing in two business pitch competitions next week with investments ranging from $15,000 to $100,000 at stake as part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. 

Ten semi-finalists competing in the $15,000 annual Water Challenge will kick off NOEW at 6:30 p.m. March 21 at the Propeller business incubator at 4035 Washington Ave. in New Orleans. The two-hour competition, being presented by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, focuses on ideas to manage urban flooding, mitigate coastal erosion and strengthen the growing local water economy.

Three entrepreneurial New Orleans companies are going after a $100,000 investment as part of an Idea Village contest from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 23 at NOEW event headquarters at the Contemporary Arts Center and The Shop at the CAC shared workspace on The Ochsner Stage.

Coulter IDEApitch finalists

• AxoSim: Its "nerve-on-a-chip" is designed to test new drugs before they go to clinical trials by using engineered human nerve tissue that looks and functions like real human nerves.

• ExemptMeNow: It offers an online platform to streamline the incorporation, exemption and compliance process for nonprofit organizations to save customers' time and money.

• Dig: It is a dating app designed to bring together compatible dog lovers and owners.

The audience will play a significant role in determining the winner.

Water Challenge semi-finalists 

• New Orleans Stormwater Training: It grows jobs in residential stormwater management by combining the expertise and resources of Louisiana Green Corps, a youth job-training provider; Home by Hand, a nonprofit housing developer building storm-resistant homes for and with low- to moderate-income families; and Greenman Dan, a landscaping company specializing in managing rainfall.

• ILSI Engineering: A woman- and minority-owned civil engineering, project program and construction management firm with multimillion-dollar projects completed in the federal, state and municipal sectors.

• HubLink: A mobile app that streamlines asset management and helps users communicate rapidly during emergencies.

• Native Roots Nursery: A project of the Woodlands Conservancy that will produce native seedlings for and involve students in service-learning programs for restoration projects.

• Integrated Shoreline Solutions: Develops solutions to shoreline protection and land accretion to increase the sustainability of fisheries while reducing long-term maintenance costs.

• Team Happy Foundation: Inspires children through books and educational programs on humanitarian relief and environmental sustainability.

• The New Orleans Museum of Art: Plans to expand the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden to incorporate sustainable water management into its existing lagoons as an environmental educational effort.

• 5/2/5 Systems LLC: Helps small communities, businesses, hospitals and schools comply with sanitary wastewater system standards by offering modular additions to their systems.

• Water Block: An education and advocacy tool used to determine the best location for stormwater management practices in neighborhoods.

• Runoff Awareness Project: An initiative that raises awareness of mitigation techniques from  the impact that impervious surfaces can have on stormwater runoff, watershed recharge, saltwater intrusion, subsidence and localized flooding.

The two events are free, but attendees must register and can go online for a full schedule and registration at