Propeller Selects 10 Finalists for PitchNOLA Competitions

Propeller has received well over 100 qualified applicants for PitchNOLA, a competition with two parts. Through Community Solutions, Propeller hopes to gather pitches from individuals and team that will be a sustainable solution to solving a pressing social or environmental challenge in the city. Through Lots of Progress, Propeller is looking for individuals or organizations to pitch an idea that will utilize vacant lots around the city to benefit the community.

Each of the two categories have been narrowed down to ten semi-finalists:

Community Solutions

Venture: Birthmark Doula Collective
Name: Dana Keren
Summary: Birthmark Doula Collective works to address the horrible birth outcomes in New Orleans by facilitating better birth experiences for women. We work to provide all women, regardless of ability to pay, with the opportunity to choose what kind of prenatal and birth experience is best for themselves and their families.

Venture: Enlighten through Travel
Name: Lydia Onimo
Summary: Debilitating socioeconomic issues such as crime, poverty, and unsatisfactory public education take an overwhelmingly negative toll on our city.  Enlighten through Travel aims to inspire talented, but underprivileged high school students to achieve beyond societal expectations through college preparatory mentoring, leadership training, foreign language study, and international travel.

Venture: enrichED
Name: Andre Feigler

Summary: enrichED is a web-based network for high-quality, flexible educational staffing.  We bring diverse, local talent into schools on an as-needed and on-demand basis with the aim of eliminating lost time, adding capacity and providing transformational learning opportunities for all students.
Venture: Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm!

Name: Jack Tiebout
Summary: Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will establish indoor vertical farming as a viable model for urban agriculture. By using hydroponic and aeroponic (soilless) growing systems to maximize vertical space, we will grow local, affordable produce year-round. We will start with a small hoop house, but hope to build up to several stories.

Venture: Justice and Accountability Center’s Mobile Expungement Clinic
Name: Ameca Reali

Summary: Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. Many are released from the criminal justice system without supportive reentry services. JAC’s expungement program facilitates reentry with an opportunity to disengage from the criminal justice system and get back to work instead of back to prison.

Venture: Smiles2Geaux
Name: Dr. Yaye Sarr

Summary: Children and seniors in Louisiana have high rates of cavities and oral diseases. Smiles2Geaux will provide mobile clinics to give low-income schoolchildren and seniors in the New Orleans area reliable, affordable access to dental services that improve preventative oral health care, using evidence-based innovative approaches.

Venture: SODI-CAN
Name: Alexander Girau

Summary: Providing affordable, effective water sanitation is a fundamental concern for humanity. The SODI-CAN, utilizing solar-nanotechnology, provides consumers with an affordable, efficient and safe means to disinfect and store water. The SODI-CAN is capable of reducing traditional solar disinfection times from hours to minutes, preventing millions of unnecessary illnesses and death.

Venture: The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project
Name: Megan Nuismer
Summary: New Orleans is our nation’s number one food desert, with 1 in 8 facing food insecurity. The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project  is an urban harvesting program that collects fruit that would otherwise goes to waste and makes it accessible to those struggling with hunger.

Venture: Youth Radio New Orleans
Name: Jesse Chanin Chanin
Summary: New Orleans is a city with extraordinary youth disempowerment and disenfranchisement, as can be seen from the high rate of youth violence and the low high school graduation rate.  To increase youth engagement and participation, we want to create a Youth Radio New Orleans, in which youth are trained in the basics of public radio production to produce a weekly live talk show on issues they find salient in their lives.

Venture: ZomBeads: Mardi Gras ReMade in New Orleans
Name: Anne Rolfes
Summary: ZomBeads: Mardi Gras ReMade in New Orleans creates useful, beautiful, Mardi Gras throws locally from recycled materials. ZomBeads transforms production of Mardi Gras trinkets from an outsourced, overseas operation to one that benefits our local economy and provides local jobs. Recycled inputs put an end to mountains of plastic waste.

Lots of Progress

Venture: Bring the Bromeliads
Name: Calla Victoria
Summary: This project is to beautify lots with minimal maintenance and maximum impact. Bromeliads are low maintenance plant material with maximum color, bloom, and pizzazz. Bromeliads can be terrestrial or epiphites and require only the morning dew to survive. This project will be a neighborhood’s tranquil oasis where residents can gather, relax, reflect, and escape from the drama of work and home for a few moments.

Venture: Develop Abundance
Name: Cat Kochanski, Martin Holly, Connor G, Lizy Hapgood, Noelle Bakri, Mike Freely
Summary: We will demonstrate the effectiveness of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic technologies in providing resources to communities in need. In addition, the project will focus on recapturing and repurposing waste, water and energy to create a self-sustaining infrastructural node for the community.

Venture: Eagle Grove
Name: Yoni Sunshine, Boy Scouts of America Southeast Louisiana Council Staff
Summary: The Boy Scouts of America Southeast Louisiana Council would provide the vacant lot to Eagle Scout candidates whose projects would demonstrate the Scouting values and skill sets to the neighboring community. Youth would construct any beautification efforts or functional structure that they could plan, build and document.

Venture: Fee-Fi-Fo Farm!

Name:  Jack Tiebout
Summary: Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will establish indoor vertical farming as a viable model for urban agriculture. By using hydroponic and aeroponic (soilless) growing systems to maximize vertical space, we will grow local, affordable produce year-round. We will start with a hoop house, but will hopefully expand upwards into a multi-level farm.

Venture: Get Fruity About Trees
Name: David Young
Summary: We don’t have enough healthy food, and we don’t have enough healthy trees. Using vacant lots to plant a sustainable grove of fruit trees provides sustainable healthy fruit, cleans the air we breathe, and offers a place for quiet and relaxation we don’t often find.

Venture: Little Champions’s Square
Name: Steven L’Heureux, Andrew Hodge, Maggie Robertson, Chris Duncan, Robert Rogers
Summary: Little Champion’s Square is an endeavor to provide our city with a football-themed athletic park where children can exercise, athletes can practice, and community members can gather. This new style of park will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood by increasing public health, safety, and overall well‑being.

Venture: MagNOLA ONE
Name: Cullan Maumus
Summary: MagNOLA ONE will address vacant lots in New Orleans, by utilizing solar energy and proven water management practices on selected sites-‐‑ to spur development. MagNOLA will create financial incentives for future investment by distributing revenues to neighbors, and elevate safety levels in the surrounding neighborhoods through its water management programming.

Venture: Organ Donors
Name: Jason Chaffin, Heather Weathers
Summary: The lot will be populated by electric organs that have been reconstructed and re-envisioned in resins, barge-board and concrete. This would not only be an impromptu teaching space, but a space for students and any persons without instruments to give voice to their musical soul.

Venture: PlayBuild NOLA
Name: Angela Kyle, Leslie Davol, Sam Davol
Summary: PlayBuild NOLA is an architectural playground. New Orleans’ design tradition reflects our rich cultural past, but it is also modern and evolving. PlayBuild NOLA gives kids and families a hands-on opportunity to experience the creative environment as well as envision and shape their surroundings and the future of our city.

Venture: Ya Herd Property Maintenance
Name: Morgana King
Summary: As an urban goat owner and 9th Ward resident, I see New Orleans’ abandoned property as an opportunity to raise goats for milk, meat, and to provide an eco-friendly lot maintenance service. The project would mean entry-level jobs, collaborations with schools and non-profits, and products for local markets.