PitchNOLA: Community Solutions took place on on Thursday, January 28, to highlight social ventures in New Orleans tackling important issues in the community.
The event is hosted by Propeller, a social innovation hub, and Tulane University, with added support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University, and EMH Strategy.
The 10 semi-finalists pitched their ideas in front of a voting audience and panel of judges for a total of $10,000 in cash prizes plus the Audience Favorite Award valued at $500 and determined by a live text-in vote.
Judges included Peter Ricchiuti, professor of practice at Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business and host of WWNO-FM’s Out to Lunch, Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund, and Carmen James, VP of programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Ricchiuti was also the keynote speaker of the evening.
Organizers offer a platform for the community members to propose their solutions to local challenges with the chance at seed funding, project support, and media coverage. They encouraged entrepreneurs in the community to pitch their ideas that offer support to workforce development, children and families, social justice, and environment.
Meet the PitchNOLA winners:
1st Place – $5,000 + Technical Assistance from EMH Strategy
Young Creative Agency | Alberta Wright
Young Creative Agency provides youth across socio-economic boundaries with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the creative economy.
2nd Place – $3,000
Fund 17 | Haley Burns
Fund 17 combats opportunity inequality in the seventeen wards of New Orleans by providing micro-entrepreneurs financial and educational tools for self-empowerment.
3rd Place – $2,000 + Audience Favorite Award – $500
Food Justice Collective | Chika Kondo, Arieanna Knight & Ron Triggs
The Food Justice Collective (FJC) is a youth of color farmers’ cooperative growing food as a way to build food sovereignty and practice cooperative economics and self-determination to address the root causes of why the communities we live in are not able to access fresh local produce and accumulate our own wealth.