New Orleans Health and Food Businesses Shine at PitchNOLA

New Orleans-based social innovation hub Propeller just wrapped up its PitchNOLA series, a pitch competition for local entrepreneurs in three focus areas: water, education, and health and food.

“As a series, PitchNOLA demonstrates the power of entrepreneurs to increase quality of life for all New Orleanians,” says Crystal McDonald, Propeller’s Director of Entrepreneurship. “These entrepreneurs care about the people of our city, and they come to the stage with the tools, services, and approaches we need for a more inclusive, powerful city.”

The 10 finalists recently pitched for a chance to win cash and in-kind services valued at a total of $15,500. Meet the winners, courtesy of Propeller, below:

Cajun Fire Brewery, the first Black-owned brewery in the U.S. South, took home the $5,000 award for First Place in Food. Founder Jon Renthrope will use financing to increase food and beverage tourism, expand economic growth, and create jobs in New Orleans East through the creation of local, commercial products. The First Runner-up in Food and $2,500 were awarded to Vaucresson’s Sausage, a third generation Creole sausage business working to bring its brick-and-mortar location back to the rapidly gentrifying 7th Ward area.

Louisiana Re-entry Mediation Project won the $5,000 First Place in Health to train formerly incarcerated people as paid mediators in correctional facilities, decreasing incarceration and recidivism. Domango Training won the First Runner-up prize of $2,500 for its holistic approach to healthy lifestyles, building a community around physical fitness, nutrition, and mental health.

The Audience Favorite Award of $500 went to the Dignity Rescue Project, a collaborative initiative between No Hunger NOLA and Crescent City Café that will open a community café and full-service restaurant where anyone can eat, regardless of needs, and produce is rescued, processed, and made affordable for all.