Idea Village Launches ‘Food Challenge’

NOEWDo you like eating? Good – and how about entrepreneurship or the idea thereof? Okay – and are you familiar with the New Orleans-established entrepreneurs from Taryn’s Crab Cakes Factory, NOLA Pie Guy, Garden District Bloody Marys, Feed Me Eat Pretty, or Creole Crackers? Well, these establishments have all been selected to take part in the inaugural New Orleans Food Challenge, created by The Idea Village. The Food Challenge, a program that will take place during the 2014 entrepreneur season, is a venture aiming to accelerate the entrepreneurial climate of the food and beverage industry, in partnership with Reily Foods and Rouses Markets.

“Each year, The Idea Village hosts a variety of Strategic Challenges in an attempt to elevate key local industries and reinforce the partnerships across the entrepreneurial community,” said Co-Founder and CEO of The Idea Village, Tim Williamson. “New to the Challenge lineup this year, the Food Challenge will mirror other successful vertical challenges, including Water and Education, providing access to unbelievable networks and strategic business consulting.”

Anyone even remotely familiar with the culture and atmosphere of New Orleans knows that food is one of the top endeavors on its totem pole.

“When it comes to innovation within the food and beverage industry, New Orleans has a longstanding competitive advantage,” said David Darragh, CEO of Reily Foods Company and Chairman of The Idea Village Board of Directors. “The Food Challenge will help us sustain this reputation by identifying and supporting some of the industry’s emerging businesses.”

The Food Challenge will be anchored by Idea Village Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Lisa Lloyd and J. Anthony Miguez, who have a collective 30+ years of experience in working in the early stages of companies. Lisa and J. will guide patrons in tailored coaching and oversee the program’s mentor and advisor systems in order to accelerate the development of participating companies.

Mentors include: Billy Bosch (Iconic), Sal LaMartina (Cordina), Lovey Wakefield (, and Erik Frank (Your Nutrition Delivered).

Advisors consist of: Sandy Whann (Leidenheimer Baking Company), Robbie Vitrano (Naked Pizza), Allison Rouse (Rouses Markets), Marcy Nathan (Advertising and PR), Ti Martin (Commander’s Palace), John Elstrott (Whole Foods), and David Darragh (Reily Foods Company).

Amidst the nine-week program, over 40 hours of strategic consulting across risk mitigation, business model optimization, and customer development, along with several other pivotal topics. The program will culminate in a ‘Demo Day’ on December 17th, when a couple of entrepreneurs are chosen to present during the 6th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), March 22-28, 2014, the culmination of The Idea Village’s annual Entrepreneur Season.

For more information about The Idea Village, The Idea Village’s 2014 Entrepreneur Season, and the inaugural New Orleans Food Challenge, visit