Five entrepreneurs proposing to launch or relocate their business to St. Bernard Parish have been selected to compete in a live pitch contest for an estimated $110,000 prize package.
The five finalists and their proposals include Crescent City Seafood Connection, a local seafood distribution and wholesaler that's proposed an oyster bar and fish market in Old Arabi; Da Parish Kayaks, which has proposed a fishing-related kayak rental and guide service; Functional Health and Wellness LLC, which would focus on encouraging clients to live healthier lifestyles through exercise, nutrition and education; Leduc Entertainment, a video production company; and Reactive Digital Systems LLC, which works in augmented-reality education.
The competition, presented by the Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation, will be held March 20, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm in Violet.
The event is free and open to the public.
Judges for the competition include Jimmy Roussel, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund; Cleveland Spears, president and CEO of the Spears Group communications firm; David Fennelly, director of Associated Terminals LLC; Aaron Dirks, founder and CEO of Deluxe Shuttle; and Erica Larkin Gaudet, a sculptor and owner of Larkin Gaudet LLC.
The contest's winner must agree to base their business in St. Bernard for at least two years. The prize package includes cash and donated services such as accounting, legal and marketing help.
To qualify, entrants must be in business for five years or less or an existing business creating a new division or entity; have less than $1 million in annual revenue; a maximum of five employees; and cannot be a nonprofit.
Entries will be scored on factors that include job growth, local capital investment and improving the parish’s image. Information is at startupstbernard.com.