Meet the Social Ventures Vying for $10,000 at PitchNOLA 2015: Community Solutions

Propeller, the social innovation hub and accelerator, has partnered with Tulane University’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching and A.B. Freeman School of Business for PitchNOLA 2015: Community Solutions, a live business pitch competition that asks New Orleanians to explain how they plan to drive progress in their community.

PitchNOLA is a live business pitch competition that asks New Orleanians to explain how they plan to drive progress in their community.

PitchNOLA is a live business pitch competition that asks New Orleanians to explain how they plan to drive progress in their community.

Ten semi-finalists will offer their solutions from 6:00 – 8:00 PM on Wednesday, January 28 at Tulane University’s Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center.

Throughout the application process, Propeller encouraged the community to pitch any idea that offers support to workforce development, children and families, social justice, and the environment.

PitchNOLA will kick off with a keynote featuring two internationally successful social entrepreneurs, Matt Flannery and Jean Claude Rodríguez-Ferrera Massons, founders of KIVA and Puddle.

Pitches will be judged by a panel including: Matt Flannery, founder of Kiva and Puddle; Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund and founder of PowerMoves NOLA; and Victor Alvarez, Director of Alvarez and Marsal and founder of Lucky Tree.

“For us, PitchNOLA is more than a competition,” said Propeller Executive Director Andrea Chen. “It’s a key strategy for expanding the pipeline of community members who bring viable entrepreneurial solutions to our city’s greatest challenges.”

Previous years, the pitch competition had awarded a single first place prize. Propeller is excited to announce that, through seed funding from the Lang Family Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, $10,000 will go to the three top ventures–$5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. An audience favorite will also be chosen and granted the audience donations from the evening.

Meet the PitchNOLA semi-finalists (alphabetically, by sector) below:

Workforce Development/Children & Families


(Charlie Barnes)

NOLA CODE is an initiative between non-profits that connects community centers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers to create after-school enrichment programs for underserved children in New Orleans.


(Eric Lavin)

A tool for students (and their advocates) to de-mystify and navigate in-demand middle skill professions and the pathways to get there.

Uncommon Construction

(Aaron Frumin)

Uncomomon Construction (uCC) is a values-based construction- and character-skills development program that will prepare high school students for the post-secondary path of their choice through hands-on training, certifications, and scholarship.


Disaster Map

(Ezra Boyd) aims to provide users with near complete situational awareness in real time as disaster events unfold.

Gator & Crane

(Emily Gaddis)

Gator and Crane incentivizes healthy and sustainable living by exchanging food waste for nutritious groceries.

Greenman Dan, Inc.

(Dan Johnson)

Greenman Dan, Inc. captures rainwater to prevent urban flooding and simultaneously make the captured rainwater a useable water source for landscape irrigation systems resulting in lowering the end-user’s water bill.

Grounds to Ground

(Yvette Tablada)

A New Orleans start-up that recycles coffee waste in 100% natural pest repellents and soil conditions for your garden.

Social Justice


(Larry Irvin)

BE2T’s mission is to close the achievement gap for at-risk students by inspiring and incentivizing men of color to choose education as a career starting in New Orleans.

Center for Restorative Approache​s​

(Troi Bechet)

CRA provides schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces with training, consulting and facilitation of dialogue circles which improve communication, build relationships, reduce violence and allow those most impacted by conflict and wrongdoing to develop their own solutions for justice and wellbeing.

Community Plates

(Lauren Rudzis)

Community Plates is dedicated towards ending food insecurity in New Orleans by using technology and a volunteer platform to rescue and directly-transfer nutritious fresh food.