MBA students sought for consulting event

Loyola University is seeking applications for the IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge.

The challenge will take place as part of the annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, presented by Iberia Bank, from March 16 to 19. Teams of MBA students will work with entrepreneurs to grow a startup company in four days.

The program solves a problem facing MBA students today, Loyola officials said: a lack of real-world opportunities to apply their skills. Other business plan competitions have student teams form educated guesses about running a business, while IDEAcorps allows students to help run an existing startup for four days.

Instead of using desk research and untested assumptions to predict problems a business may encounter, the program brings in local business leaders and investors as rotating mentors throughout the weekend.

Of the 2016 IDEAcorps participants, 11 out of 13 MBA students reported that the experience changed their perspective on entrepreneurship, while all said the program helped them with their current jobs or future career prospects.

During the four-day weekend, teams identify a problem the entrepreneur is facing, develop a solution, validate that solution through customer interviews and market research, and finally present a plan the entrepreneur can implement immediately.

Student leaders take on the role of aspiring business leaders and help develop teams at their universities. Each team can have up to six students. A faculty mentor is encouraged but not required.

In a culminating event, the teams are judged by a panel of business leaders on how far they have “moved the needle” for the company.

This year, Loyola is expanding the call for team leader applications to universities across the Southeast.

IDEAcorps was launched in 2006 by the Idea Village as a founding component of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Loyola entered into a partnership with the Idea Village in 2015 to host the competition and to help institutionalize it with regional schools.

Student team leaders must apply online by Oct. 1. Applications are available at

For more information, contact Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development Program Manager Kate McCrery at

UNO earns grant to save sea turtles

The University of New Orleans has been awarded a $232,500 federal grant to design a device that protects sea turtles from being captured in small shrimping nets.

Though federal law has long required shrimpers to use turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, the technology has been designed for shrimpers on vessels longer than 25 feet with nets designed for fishing deeper waters.

Shrimpers using smaller nets in shallower waters inshore have no effective options that enable them to keep shrimp in and turtles out of their nets, said Martin O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences and director of UNO’s Nekton Research Laboratory.

It’s easier to design an escape for the largest turtles when a net spans more than 16 feet. When the net measures 12 feet or less, shrimpers risk sacrificing their catch through the turtle escape hole.

Most sea turtle species in U.S. waters are threatened or endangered, and data suggest the primary cause of sea turtle deaths is incidental capture in shrimp trawls.

This grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the latest in O’Connell’s ongoing work to improve turtle excluder devices.

O’Connell works closely with Meg Uzee-O’Connell, a research associate with UNO’s Pontchartrain Institute of Environmental Sciences, and Jeff Gearhart, a Mississippi-based fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Meghan Gahm, a Ph.D. candidate in UNO’s engineering and applied science degree program, will collect data for the project over the next two years.

To measure effectiveness, divers will travel alongside moving trawls, comparing shrimp catch sizes and numbers of turtles trapped when the turtle excluder device is being employed and when it is not.

Marine Corps band to perform at Delgado

Delgado Community College invites the public to attend a free musical performance at its City Park Campus.

On Wednesday, the Marine Corps Band New Orleans will perform “A Century of Service,” celebrating 100 years of the Marine Corps Reserve, from 1916 to 2016. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in the Timothy K. Baker Theater in Building 1 at 615 City Park Ave.

Seating is first-come, first-seated and seats are limited.

For more information, call (504) 697-7861 or visit

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.