PitchNOLA 2015, a business pitch competition mounted by Propeller and 4.0 Schools and sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will award $10,000 in total startup funding for entrepreneurial solutions to improve educational outcomes in New Orleans schools. Semi-finalists in this year’s public event, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 4, will address the hurdles facing educational equity, including solutions that fund early child care and vocational education and promote strategies to reduce absenteeism and poor academic performance.
Contestants will pitch their ideas onstage to a panel of judges at the Propeller Incubator, 4035 Washington Ave., New Orleans. A $500 Audience Favorite Award will be chosen by a live, text-in vote. PitchNOLA: Education is the seventh installment of PitchNOLA, which has tackled other urban problems such as health care and blight.
Equitable access to learning opportunities is especially important in New Orleans, where 39 percent of children live in poverty, putting them at greater risk for failure. More than 25 percent of New Orleans students are classified as chronically absent from class.
“New Orleans has made significant gains in K-12 student achievement since Katrina, but there is still more work to ensure educational equity,” according to Propeller Executive Director Andrea Chen.
The top recipients for PitchNOLA 2014: Food Security, Burnell and Keasha Dayton-Cotlon, were able to purchase a Chevy truck to stock the Lower 9th Ward Market and to deliver groceries to local residents.
“Having the truck has enabled us to get more groceries to more people faster,” Keasha Cotlon said.
Admission to PitchNOLA 2015 is free with tickets available at eventbrite.com.