10 Social Innovators Vying for Startup Funding at Annual Water Challenge

The Water Challenge is an annual initiative of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, presented by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The pitch competition, slated for tonight (March 21) during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, and  will award $15,000 in total start-up funding to businesses, non-profits, and ideas improving urban water, coastal environment, or local water economy.

Each of the finalists share the same focus: to narrow the disparities caused by natural disasters and increase representation in the water industry, where white employees outnumber people of color six to one.

Meet the 10 semi-finalists below:

New Orleans Stormwater Training​ grows jobs in residential stormwater management by combining the expertise and resources of three established entities: Louisiana Green Corps, a job training provider for opportunity youth, Home by Hand, a non-profit housing developer working to build storm-resistant homes for and with low- to moderate-income families, and Greenman Dan, a landscaping company specializing in managing rainfall beautifully.

ILSI Engineering​ is a 100% woman-owned, minority-owned New Orleans-based civil engineering, project program management, and construction management firm with a   strong record of performance on multi-year multi-million-dollar projects completed in the federal, state and municipal sectors.

HubLink ​is a mobile app streamlines asset management workflows and helps users communicate rapidly during emergencies.

Native Roots Nursery ​is a project of the Woodlands Conservancy that will produce native seedlings to utilize in future restoration projects and engage students in service-learning programs through hands-on restoration activities. 

Integrated Shoreline Solutions ​develops innovative and cost-effective solutions to shoreline protection and land accretion concerns, with the goal to create designs that increase the sustainability of fisheries while reducing long-term maintenance costs.

Team Happy Foundation ​inspires the next generation of first responders and wetlands champions through award-winning children’s books and educational programs on humanitarian relief and environmental sustainability.

The New Orleans Museum of Art ​plans to expand the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden to incorporate sustainable water management into its existing lagoons, while serving as an opportunity to educate this and future generations about these efforts in a creative environment. 

5/2/5 Systems, LLC ​helps small communities, businesses, hospitals, and schools with affordable solutions to comply with sanitary wastewater system standards by offering modular additions to their current systems.

Water Block ​is an education and advocacy tool by Design Jones, LLC in partnership with Atianna Cordova and Kristen Lonon that allows community members to determine where the best location for stormwater management practices can be implemented in their neighborhood.

Runoff Awareness Project ​is an initiative of Limitless Vistas, Inc. that raises awareness of the impact that impervious surfaces have on stormwater runoff, watershed recharge, saltwater intrusion, subsidence and potential localized flooding, while increasing awareness of stormwater mitigation techniques.

While the event is sold out, walk ins are welcome to arrive at 6:00pm to join the waitlist for seating at 6:15pm. More details about the Challenge can be found here.