InNOLAvation was created to facilitate innovation within the minority community in New Orleans. It started as a tech meetup back in October 2012 and quickly escalated into including a pitch competition for local entrepreneurs in the spring of 2013. This past New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the group geared the inNOLAvation Challenge toward high school students.
The 2014 inNOLAvation Challenge exhibited students from Algiers Technology Academy (Algiers Tech), Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School and Lake Area New Tech Early College High School.
Damon Burns, founder of inNOLAvation said they decided to work with high school students this year because they recognize their importance to the entire New Orleans community, “Particularly as it relates to entrepreneurship. The students embraced the challenge we put before them and performed at a high level.”
Participating students were tasked with developing a mobile application concept to solve a problem that they are intimately familiar with. Over the course of six weeks working with volunteer entrepreneurs, the students refined their ideas that were presented at the challenge.
The team from Algiers Tech won 1st place with their career counseling application for high school students. The young entrepreneurs will now focus on bringing their concept to life as the inNOLAvation team will provide additional assistance. Each student from the winning team also received a Google Chromebook to assist them with homework and future big ideas, according to the organization.
“We walked away in awe of the student-entrepreneurs. They were highly intelligent and handled the pressure of presenting to strangers like any mature adult would. Our goal was to inspire and encourage the student-entrepreneurs to think big and act fast.”
Burns and the other inNOLAvation organizers are grateful for the community’s belief in their mission of encouraging innovation within the minority community. “ The exposure that the students received will stay with them for a lifetime.”