Five JEDCO Challenge Finalists are Headed to Pitch at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and First NBC Bank have announced finalists for the annual JEDCO Challenge, a pitch competition showcasing the brightest entrepreneurs living and working in Jefferson Parish.

More than 20 applications were received for the fifth annual event, which culminates at a pitch competition each year at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). Five finalists were selected.

“The JEDCO Challenge has become a premier event for the entrepreneurial community in Jefferson Parish and it is due in large part to the caliber of the companies that participate in this competition each year,” says JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “The entrepreneurs behind these five diverse startups represent the talent, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence that we value in the Jefferson Parish business community. We believe their entrance into the Challenge this year is indicative of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and offerings for startup companies in our community. JEDCO looks forward to watching all of these companies grow and find success locally.”

The finalists will pitch live for seven minutes during NOEW on Monday, March 20th at Southport Hall. Register for the event here.

Meet the entrepreneurs (information provided by JEDCO):

BioAesthetics: Nicholas Pashos

BioAesthetics was founded in 2015 as a Tulane University spin-out with the mission to improve reconstruction options for breast cancer patients after they undergo mastectomies. The BioAesthetics’ initial product is a tissue-engineered nipple-areolar complex (NAC).

Chosen Diagnostics: Sunyoung Kim

Chosen Diagnostics’ core mission is to improve healthcare delivery for patients by providing diagnostic tests that personalize their treatment. The company is developing a biomarker test to diagnose a common and life-threatening gastrointestinal disease, called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), in preterm infants with low birth weight.

Drone Party Planet: Phil Taylor

Drone Party Planet combines fun social gatherings with the thrill of flying a drone. Drone Party Planet brings drone flying virtually anywhere via its patent-pending DroneZone.  

IDIYA: Dominic Giunta

IDIYA designs, installs, supplies and supports innovative learning Labs in schools across the Greater New Orleans region. These “Makerspace” classrooms, outfitted with cutting-edge equipment, provide students with hands-on opportunities to problem-solve, apply skills to functional projects, and prepare for the 21st century workforce.


Southern City Farm: Andrew Prat

Southern City Farm is a local urban farm that provides the freshest specialty produce available on a consistent basis to chefs, restaurants, and markets throughout the Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

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