Each year during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), education hub and incubator 4.0 Schools hosts an education pitch to showcase early-stage startups. The nonprofit offers a platform for teachers, technologists and entrepreneurs to create bold solutions and ventures– often tech-related– for the real problems in schools.
As always, 4.0 Schools selected eight startups to share how they are shaping the future of school at “The Future of School Starts Here” pitch.
A panel of judges were rating each of the pitches on a number of criteria, including potential impact, organizational sustainability, team expertise, and use of funds. There was $10,000 up for grabs to be split three ways.
The third place prize of $1,000 was awarded to The Living School, a student designed high school. The person pitching asked the audience “What if there was a school that gave control and governance back to kids in search of healthier lives and the planet?” The Living School measures academic outcomes in addition to how students are living outside of school.
Second place and $2,000 went to Gigsy, a for-profit company that bridges the disconnect between work and school by training talented high school students in photography and then books them on paying gigs with tenured professionals. Founder Robert Warren is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty that so many students live in.
The grand prize of $7,000 was given to Project Peaceful Warriors, a program that teaches mindfulness to students and educators through yoga. “More yoga, more mindful children, more success,” explained the founder. They are currently working with students involved in small group intervention such as students who experience trauma and are currently connected to 600 students and seven schools.
In a twist of events, the judges also awarded an undisclosed amount to The Life School. They said the independent private high school that enables students to earn income through school work could use the funds to continue progressing.
The other pitches came from the entrepreneurs behind Young Creative Agency, Scholar Mecca, Discovery Lab, and honorCode.
Additionally, student entrepreneurs presented a pitch as part of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) and Chevron’s future leaders program. The program offers monthly learning activities, events, and trips for select Teen Council members and is designed to support skills development and enable early career exploration.