Social innovation hub Propeller teamed with 4.0 Schools for the second annual PitchNOLA: Education on November 3. The competition awards cash prizes to entrepreneurial solutions that measurably improve educational outcomes for underserved New Orleanians.
PitchNOLA: Education is part of the larger PitchNOLA series, a string of issue-specific business pitch competitions that has awarded more than $100,000 to 30 ventures over the last five years.
Finalists ranged from an educational programming company to a community of photographers who help train kids in the field.
The keynote speaker was given by scholar, commentator, and activist Dr. Andre Perry. Judges for the evening included: Krystal Hardy Allen, Education Consultant; Alvin David, Director of Strategic Initiatives of the Recovery School District; Tanya Lewis, Founder & CEO of Ops360; and Alberta Wright, former PitchNOLA winner, Founding Director of Young Creative Agency, Creative Digital Media Manager at the Youth Empowerment Project.
First place and $5,000 went to Electric Girls, an organization that develops New Orleans-area girls into confident leaders and role models in technology by creating a community where girls can learn STEM skills with and from each other. Entrepreneurs Flor Serna and Maya Ramos plan to use the funding to diversify their cohorts and expand their financial aid offerings.
Small business incubator RisingFoundations came in second place, winning $3,000 from the evening. The organization provides formerly incarcerated young adults with the education and resources to foster financial security through self-employment.
Last but not least, the third place prize and the Audience Favorite Award, totaling $2,500, went to Overcoming Racism, which develops anti-racist educators and equip them with the tools to train youth to be the agents of change to abolish racism.