A $36,000 competition is underway to encourage entrepreneurs to submit digital ideas to help solve health challenges and drive more technology-related business activity in New Orleans.

The inaugural NOLA Health Innovators Challenge is being launched by the New Orleans Business Alliance, along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Ochsner Health System and the city.

The deadline to submit digital health solutions is Jan. 15 at www.medstartr.com/nolahi.

Entrepreneurs submit solutions to any of three challenge statements submitted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System, Tulane Health System and Lafayette General Foundation. For example, Blue Cross and Ochsner posed a joint diabetes care challenge. 

Industry experts will review the applications, and the MedStartr platform will analyze applicants on more than 100 metrics, including product-market fit. People interested in health care innovation also can vote for their favorite startup solutions by visiting the NOLAHI website.

Selected finalists are eligible to receive $36,000, as well as in-kind prizes, such as free co-working space, and a spot on a startup accelerator program.

The challenge will culminate at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March, when finalists will pitch their solutions. 

"NOLAHI is another proof point that economic development matters because people matter," said NOLABA President and CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr. "More than the promise of attracting the most creative digital health companies to New Orleans, NOLAHI's potential to transform health outcomes of patients throughout the state is why NOLABA is so honored to be a part of this initiative."