Five finalists have been selected for the 2015 Water Challenge, a live business pitch competition for companies with ideas for wetland and marshland restoration, storm protection and harvesting rain.
The finalists are Advanced Berm Technologies, Magnolia Land Partners, Greenman Dan Inc., Wetland Resources LLC and Riverbottom Tech.
They will pitch their ideas for up to $10,000, provided by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The competition is being held by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation in partnership, with the foundation and the Idea Village at The Chicory on Fulton Street on March 23, during the seventh annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
The finalists and their ideas are as follows:
- Advanced Berm Technologies, Don and Jon Adams. It is creating a berm design and deployment process that will increase the rate at which marshes are restored.
- Magnolia Land Partners, Mark Bernstein. It is developing wetland restoration projects in Louisiana through the sale of mitigation credits.
- Greenman Dan Inc., Dan Johnson. It has an underground rainwater containment system designed to solve water runoff problems while reducing landscape irrigation costs.
- Wetland Resources LLC, Gary Shaffer and Demetra Kandalepas. It would provide storm protection to coastal Louisiana through massive planting of hurricane-resistant bald cypress and water tupelo.
- Riverbottom Tech, John Tesvich. It’s creating technology for restoring and maintaining coastal areas on a sustainable basis.
“By backing these social enterprises, we’re building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that encourages the growth of innovative, locally rooted solutions to our water challenges and contributes to the sustainable development of the Greater New Orleans area,” said Ella Delio, director of environmental and regional initiatives at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Finalists were selected out of 13 water entrepreneurs in Propeller’s Social Venture Accelerator and participants in the Water Challenge Peer Mentorship Program, a 12-week mentorship and peer-learning program to help nonprofit and for-profit water innovators gain the business expertise they need to launch their startups.
“A broad range of creative and exciting solutions addressing storm water management issues and coastal and wetland restoration are represented in these companies, certain of these may grow into big businesses,” said Mike Eckert, former CEO of the Weather Channel and lead mentor of the Water Challenge Peer Mentorship Program.
Last year’s winner, Tyler Ortego, of ORA Estuaries, has invented, manufactured and distributed OysterBreak, a patented system for creating sustainable oyster reefs to prevent coastal erosion.