Nine Social Ventures Pitch for Cash at Annual Water Challenge

The Water Challenge is a collaborative initiative between the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, and The Idea Village focused on solving critical regional water issues through entrepreneurship in Louisiana.

This year, nine semi-finalists will compete in the Water Challenge with $15,000 up for grabs provided by GNOF. The ventures are equipped with ideas to rebuild the coast, improve water management, and bring jobs to the local water economy.

The semi-finalists will pitch later today (March 20) from 2:00 – 4:00 pm during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).

Meet the semi-finalists:

  • Anna Marie Shrimp (Lance Nacio) is a Louisiana-based shrimper committed to reducing bycatch and ensuring his customers receive shrimp within one day of catch.
  • AutoFlow LLC (Peyton Watson) is pioneering the Autoriser water control gate. This technology provides strong economic incentives while significantly improving environmental water quality by using telemetry and automation to precisely control the release of water from agricultural fields and other impoundment areas.
  • Bayou Backer Erosion Control (Joseph Lazaro) provides cheap and effective protection to marshland and eroding shoreline by installing HDPE plastic to reduce wave energy caused by persistent boat wakes.
  • Landscape Metrics, LLC (Benjamin Wellington) transforms quantitative data into interactive, attractive, and informative narratives in order to inspire public engagement with environmental issues from local water quality to global climate change.
  • Marine Gardens Marsh Armor (Michael Boatright) uses Industrial size 3D printers to construct inexpensive custom cementous geopolymer structures from industrial mineral waste streams.
  • Marine Turbine Technologies, LLC (Ted McIntyre, II) has created a twin turbine airboat to replace work vessels needed for projects in fragile wetland environments that maintain Louisiana’s working coast.
  • Bluefin Data (Andrew Peterson) is creating VESL, a software platform that will promote efficient operations for seafood producers and government agencies.
  • Orleans Resource Center, LLC (William Belisle, PhD) has created an oil spill remediation and containment net, a 2’x30’ (with varying sizes) water-borne, oil remediation and containment net that can be dragged through oil spills, positioned around oil spills and leaks or connected to booms, skimmers and sorbents to collect oil and restrict further oil movement through bodies of water.
  • Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) (Susannah Burley) is piloting the project You Dig, strategically planting native trees in New Orleans neighborhoods, with the mission of driving a resilient and environmentally equitable New Orleans through reforesting our city.