Propeller Expands Water Challenge with Funding From Greater New Orleans Foundation

Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation has announced they will be expanding their Water Challenge going into its sixth year. The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) has granted Propeller $170,360, which will go toward the launch of the upcoming challenge this fall.

“Year after year, we invest in the Water Challenge because we see the impact it’s having on growing the regional water economy,” said Ella Delio, director of environmental and regional initiatives at GNOF. “Now with Propeller, we’re investing in two entrepreneur tracks which will help address the different needs of start-up enterprises and growth companies working to resolve our region’s water issues. We are hoping that this kind of tailored approach will help these enterprises grow at a faster rate.”

Lead Mentor Mike Eckert leads Propeller's 2014-2015 pilot water accelerator program.

Lead Mentor Mike Eckert leads Propeller’s 2014-2015 pilot water accelerator program.

The next program will serve twice as many water entrepreneurs through the restructured accelerator program. Propeller is seeking ten social ventures in each of their four issue areas: water management, food security, healthcare, and educational equity.

Participants will be provided more tailored, expansive offerings to help build entrepreneurial solutions to water issues in the region such as stormwater management and coastal erosion.

“The 2016 Water Challenge will build upon the momentum of the 2015 Water Challenge and add Propeller’s own programming and mission to drive measurable environmental impact and develop a thriving water economy,” said Propeller’s executive director Andrea Chen.

To date, the local water entrepreneurs have secured 1,330 acres of Louisiana wetlands for permanent protection, installed rain harvesting systems to keep 900,000 projected gallons of water annually on-site and out of storm drains, and pioneered long-lasting storm protection for all neighborhoods in coastal Louisiana through the large-scale planting of hurricane-resistant cypress forests.

Mike Eckert, former CEO and the Weather Channel prior to his role as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at The Idea Village, will lead the Water Sector as lead mentor.

Propeller is currently accepting applications from idea, pilot, and development stage ventures until July 31, 2015.

The 2016 Water Challenge will culminate at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, taking place this year March 11-16, 2016.