Posts Tagged ‘Lina Alfieri Stern’

Three Freeman staffers make Silicon Bayou 100

Friday, December 14th, 2012

John Elstrott, Ralph Maurer and Lina Alfieri Stern, the leadership team behind the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, are among the local movers and shakers to make the 2012 Silicon Bayou 100.

The staff of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. From left to right, Lina Alfieri Stern, John Elstrott, Terry McGuckin, Ralph Maurer and Rosalind Butler.

Silicon Bayou News, a website dedicated to covering the state’s rapidly growing startup scene, selects the Silicon Bayou 100 each year to recognize the most active and influential people in technology and entrepreneurship in Louisiana. This year’s honorees were announced on Dec. 12 at a release party at Eiffel Society in New Orleans.

Elstrott is emeritus executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute (LRI), the center he founded in 1991 to coordinate entrepreneurship programs and initiatives at the Freeman School. Under Elstrott’s guidance, the Freeman School has consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the nation for entrepreneurship. Prior to his retirement in July 2012, Elstrott provided instruction, mentorship and advice to hundreds of entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs over the course of a 25-year career at the Freeman School. As emeritus executive director, Elstrott remains involved with the institute as a consultant and fundraiser, and he continues to teach entrepreneurship courses at the Freeman School.

Maurer is executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute, and he also serves as executive director of the Tulane Family Business Center, a program of LRI. A professor of practice in the area of strategy & entrepreneurship, Maurer focuses his teaching and research on innovation and strategy in highly dynamic markets, with an emphasis on both technology and the cultural industries. His work and consulting experience includes time with Apple, Daimler-Benz, Chrysler, Deluxe and multiple internet startups. In addition to his role at the Freeman School, Maurer serves as a consultant with EMH Strategy in New Orleans.

Alfieri Stern has been with the Levy-Ronsenblum Institute since its founding, and she has served as director of the institute since 2008. In that role, she plans and implements projects relating to entrepreneurial studies, urban economic development and social entrepreneurship. In addition, she places and mentors volunteer students in consulting projects for disadvantaged businesses and not-for-profit organizations. As staff adviser to the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, Alfieri Stern also plays a major role in organizing the annual Tulane Business Plan Competition and the Domain Cos. New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which each year award more than $70,000 in cash and prizes to promising startup ventures.

Tulane University was well represented on this year’s Silicon Bayou 100. In addition to Elstrott, Maurer and Alfieri Stern, the list features dozens of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, organizers and services providers with Tulane connections.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a leader in your field, but I think what’s even more impressive is the tremendous diversity of talent highlighted on the list,” says Maurer. “It’s been exciting to work with many of the people on the list over the last couple of years, and John, Lina and I look forward to working with them in the future to make the Freeman School an even bigger part of the New Orleans entrepreneurial community.”

For more information about the 2012 Silicon Bayou 100, visit Silicon Bayou News.


Social entrepreneurs seek the perfect pitch at PitchNOLA

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Ten teams of social entrepreneurs visited Tulane’s uptown campus last week to pitch ideas to solve a host of environmental and social problems, but in the end, it was a program to help the formerly incarcerated transition back into society that came out on top at the fourth annual PitchNOLA.

PitchNOLA 2012

Latona Giwa delivers her pitch for Birthmark Doula Collective, which earned second place honors and the Audience Favorite Prize at this year’s PitchNOLA competition. (Photos by Cheryl Gerber)

The competition, an “elevator pitch” contest for local social entrepreneurs, is an annual presentation of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and Propeller, a local nonprofit that supports social innovation ventures. More than 200 people packed Freeman Auditorium last Wednesday (Nov. 14) to watch the socially minded entrepreneurs deliver three-minute pitches for their ventures to a panel of judges, with a $5,000 cash prize on the line.

The Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, this year’s grand prize winner, provides legal assistance to help the state’s large population of nonviolent ex-offenders expunge their criminal records, which can be a major obstacle for them to gain employment and break the cycle of incarceration.

“The potential scale of impact in proportion to the social issue was huge,” said Leslie Jacobs, who served as one of this year’s judges. “It’s innovative, there’s tremendous need, and we felt the speakers had a high level of credibility with their experience. Our one question was the potential to really go to scale, but it was worth the gamble.”

Ameca Reali, executive director of the Justice & Accountability Center, said the prize money will enable the organization to greatly expand its outreach efforts.

“With these extra funds, we can go into more communities and take in more clients, and everywhere we go, we take in clients every single time,” said Reali “We can double the number of clients we serve.”


Of the 10 ventures chosen as finalists for this year’s PitchNOLA competition, seven were started by Tulane students or alumni.

This year’s competition also had some drama. While the grand prize was the only cash award announced, a last-minute gift from an anonymous donor enabled organizers to award a $4,000 prize to second-place winner Birthmark Doula Collective, which seeks to improve birth outcomes in New Orleans, and a $3,000 prize to third-place finisher the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project, which harvests fruit from the trees of private owners to fight hunger in New Orleans. An anonymous donor also provided a $5,000 gift to Smiles2Geaux, an initiative to establish mobile dental clinics low-income schoolchildren and seniors.

This year’s PitchNOLA attracted 60 applications, the most in the four-year history of the event, and seven of the 10 finalists had Tulane connections, including Birthmark Doula Collective, which was co-founded by Freeman School Professional MBA student Dana Keren, and the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project, which was founded by School of Public Health alumna Megan Nuismer.

“I’m really proud of all the Tulane participants and finalists,” said Lina Alfieri Stern, director of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. “We’re committed to fostering and supporting social entrepreneurship across the university, so it’s really exciting to see more and more students using the knowledge and skills they’re learning in the classroom to make an impact in the local community.”


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