Water Challenge Day, an annual event highlighting the momentum and opportunities driving entrepreneurial activity, creating jobs, inspiring research and attracting dollars for the New Orleans area globally significant water sector, kicked off the public sessions (Monday, March 24) during the sixth New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).
The event is a collaboration between The Idea Village and the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) that aims to identify and support entrepreneurial solutions that apply innovative approaches to how we live with water.
The Water Challenge, in which four local companies will battle it out for a chance at $50,000 to advance their startup, will kick off later this afternoon (3:20 PM – 5:00 PM) at Gallier Hall.
Harry Shearer, best known for wearing many hats — actor, comedian, writer, voice artist,musician, author, radio host, director–, will host the pitch competition. He is currently a professor at Loyola University New Orleans and entrenched in the local entrepreneurial scene.
The highly anticipated challenge will showcase entrepreneurs tackling flood protection, coastal restoration, rainwater management, and technology. Participating Entrepreneurs include EcoUrban, iSeeChange,ORA Estuaries, and RiverView Construction.
Information about each company can be found below:
Entrepreneur: Demetria Christo
EcoUrban is the only local, full-service landscaping company specializing in sustainable products and eco-friendly practices. From cisterns and rainwater irrigation to decks, pervious patios and LED lighting, to native and edible plants, we install and maintain the garden you’ve always dreamed of while cultivating a greener New Orleans.
Entrepreneur: Julia Kumari Drapkin
iSeeChange is a climate almanac and information service for the 21st century. Their aggregated analysis helps clients make informed business decisions and save money by staying ahead of potential climate and weather risks in the marketplace weeks or months ahead of the mainstream news.
Entrepreneur: Tyler Ortego
ORA Estuaries’ mission is to drive the state of practice in estuarine sustainability. Their vision is to be a small, but global provider of products and services that helps their clients build and maintain the ecological infrastructure that allows our estuaries to remain abundant and productive in conjunction with ever increasing human presence. ORA Estuaries’ flagship product, the OysterBreak, uses the gregarious, shell building nature of the oyster to create living, engineered infrastructure. ORA Estuaries works with the manufacturer to generate sales, plus provides services related to OysterBreak installation. ORA Estuaries also offers engineering consulting services related to estuarine sustainability.
Entrepreneur: Wayne Erdman
RiverView Construction, LLC designs and markets an innovative flood barrier product called the Aqua Flood Barrier™, the fastest deploying water barrier system in the New Orleans area.
UPDATE: After the judges deliberated, it was announced that ORA Estuaries won the 2014 Water Challenge. The prize package includes legal services, strategic consulting, newspaper ad placements and more.
“We’re now at the time that we believe these entrepreneurs can create change,” concluded Tim Williamson, Co-founder and CEO at The Idea Village.