Posts Tagged ‘PitchNOLA’

PMBA student earns top prize at PitchNOLA

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

As a first-year Tulane University student in 2006, Teddy Nathan saw firsthand the power of public service. Now, as a young entrepreneur, he’s hoping to tap into that spirit of service to address some of the city’s biggest needs.

Celebrating at PitchNOLA are Crescent City Connections team members, from left, Annie Daskovsky and co-founder Teddy Nathan, with Propeller representative Rebecca Conwell and Zach Cheney, also a co-founder of the venture. (Photo by Ian Cockburn)

Celebrating at PitchNOLA are Crescent City Connections team members, from left, Annie Daskovsky and co-founder Teddy Nathan, with Propeller representative Rebecca Conwell and Zach Cheney, also a co-founder of the venture. (Photo by Ian Cockburn)

Nathan (LA ’10, MBA ’16), senior program coordinator at the Tulane Center for Public Service and a Professional MBA student at the A. B. Freeman School of Business, was the big winner at the fifth annual PitchNOLA competition. The elevator pitch contest for local social entrepreneurship ventures took place Tuesday night (Nov. 19) in front of a packed audience in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on the Tulane uptown campus.

Nathan and colleagues Zach Cheney and Melissa Garber earned the $5,000 grand prize with their pitch for Crescent City Connections, which works with local nonprofits to create customized volunteer experiences for tourist groups. The organization then channels fees collected from the volunteers back to the sponsoring nonprofit.

In awarding this year’s top prize, judges praised Crescent City Connections for its efforts to turn the growing demand for volunteer opportunities into sustainable income for nonprofits.

“I think there was a sense that if somebody could come along and connect volunteers with opportunities, that would serve both the people who benefit from the volunteers and the volunteers themselves, who could get to experience a different part of New Orleans,” said John Frazee, senior vice president with CBS News and one of this year’s judges. “They seemed to have the potential for having impact on a lot of people.”

For Nathan, winning this year’s PitchNOLA was a special thrill.

“I come every year,” he said. “I’ve been in the audience for the last four years, so it’s crazy to be here on stage right now.”

Nathan said he plans to use the prize money to host a pilot event for members of the business, hospitality and nonprofit communities to help those partners better understand what the organization hopes to provide for tourist groups.

“It’s so they can actually have the volunteer experience we’ve been talking about, so that it’s no longer just a concept,” Nathan explains. “They can then be our goodwill ambassadors.”

In addition to Crescent City Connections, PitchNOLA also awarded a $500 “audience favorite” prize to I Heart Louisiana, which helps connect Mardi Gras krewes to locally sourced and sustainable throws.

PitchNOLA was a joint presentation of Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Tulane, the A. B. Freeman School of Business and Propeller, a nonprofit that supports social innovation in New Orleans.


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.”

PitchNOLA

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.”

 


Register now for PitchNOLA 2012

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Got an idea to solve a social or environmental problem in New Orleans? Register for PitchNOLA, Propeller’s annual social innovation “elevator pitch” competition, and you could win up to $6,000 to make that idea a reality.

PitchNOLA

PitchNOLA contestant Tamara Prosper delivers her pitch for Sheaux Fresh Sustainable Foods at last year’s competition.

This year, PitchNOLA features two different tracks dedicated to addressing two different community challenges. PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions is designed to identify sustainable ventures that solve pressing social or environmental problems in New Orleans. PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress is intended to develop creative ideas to utilize the city’s abundant vacant lots in ways that benefit the community.

The 10 best proposals received in each track will earn their submitters the right to pitch their ideas to a panel of celebrity judges in front of a live audience on Nov. 14 and 15. The best pitch in the Community Solutions track can win up to $6,000 to develop the idea, while the top three pitches in  the Lots of Progress track will receive vacant lots on which to demonstrate their ideas.

If you think you might have an idea, don’t delay. The application deadline for Community Solutions is Monday, Oct. 15, and the application deadline for Lots of Progress is Monday, Oct. 22.

PitchNOLA is an annual presentation of Propeller, formerly SENO (Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans), and is co-sponsored by Tulane University’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the A. B. Freeman School of Business and the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship.

For more information about PitchNOLA 2012 and to register online, visit http://www.seno-nola.org/pitchnola2012.


Innovative approach to health care wins top prize at PitchNOLA

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The ideas presented spanned everything from urban farms to educational wetlands trips to an online crowdsourcing program to support underprivileged students, but in the end, it was an innovative approach to health care that captured the top prize at PitchNOLA 2011.

Sarah Mason, left, and Arwen Podesta, right, won first place at this year’s PitchNOLA competition with their pitch for an integrative medical practice. Also pictures are Andrea Chen, second from left, executive director of SENO, and Stephanie Barksdale, manager of Tulane’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives. (Photos by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo.)

The Well, a multi-modal clinic combining primary, holistic and mental health care services, won first place at this year’s PitchNOLA competition, an “elevator pitch” contest for local social entrepreneurship ventures.

The competition, a presentation of Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO) with support from the Freeman School and the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, took place on Thursday (Oct. 6) in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium.

In earning this year’s top honors, the Well edged out nine other ventures to win a prize package worth more than $6,000, including a $3,500 cash award, $2,000 in pro bono marketing and PR services from Trumpet Group, $500 in billable legal hours from the law firm of Baker Donelson, and a mentorship and pro bono technical assistance from SENO.

Serving as judges for the competition were Leslie Jacobs, founder of Educate Now! and chair of GNO Inc.; Eric Shaw, vice president of policy and programs at Foundation for Louisiana; and Nishith Acharya, executive director of the Deshpande Foundation, who delivered a keynote address to attendees.

The Well’s Dr. Arwen Podesta, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Tulane Medical School, and Sarah Mason, a registered nurse, won the competition with their pitch for a new outpatient clinic, one that would serve both the primary care and mental and behavioral health needs of patients. Podesta noted that the lack of a comprehensive approach to care at the clinic level results in many patients failing to receive the treatment they need.

“There are examples of integrative, holistic centers, but none that I know of that include mental health, psychiatry, behavioral health and addiction,” said Podesta.

That unique approach to meeting a significant social need impressed the judges.

“One of the things we were asked to judge was the level of innovation,” Jacobs said. “In our mind, they were clearly very innovative. This problem exists, it is the first we’ve heard of this type of solution, and we felt it was worth an investment to see if this could be viable.”

This year’s PitchNOLA attracted more than 200 people, making it the biggest competition in the three-year history of the event.

“The Well really had the passion,” added Shaw. “I think they could create a model that could be replicated throughout New Orleans and throughout the state.”

AMPS, a producer self-sustaining urban farms, won this year’s “audience favorite” award and a prize package worth $1,000. Audience members were able to vote on which pitch they liked best via text message during the competition.

Prior to PitchNOLA, LifeCity in conjunction with SENO and Tulane presented Green the Gras, a competition for ideas to make Mardi Gras more environmentally sustainable. Beadcycle, an initiative to reward individuals who recycle their Mardi Gras beads with tokens good for discounts at local restaurants, won the top prize of $1,000 plus consulting services from SENO.

This year’s PitchNOLA attracted more than 200 attendees, making it the biggest in the three-year history of the competition. According to Shaw, that attendance reflects the remarkable growth of social entrepreneurship in New Orleans.

“It really is a groundswell,” Shaw said. “SENO has been amazing bringing attention to it, Tulane has been amazing bringing attention to it, and a lot of foundations are supporting it. It really is a new type of entrepreneurship, to help people and address a need in the community.”

 


Freeman and SENO announce PitchNOLA 2011

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Got an idea to improve life in New Orleans? Enter PitchNOLA and you could win $1,000 to help make it a reality.

Alan Fisher of GTC NOLA, a green transportation company, makes his pitch at last year’s PitchNOLA competition.

Budding entrepreneurs have about a month to submit entries to PitchNOLA 2011, an “elevator-pitch” competition for ventures designed to effect positive social or environmental change in New Orleans.

Now in its third year, the contest gives local social entrepreneurs the chance to pitch breakthrough ideas to a panel of celebrity judges and an audience of more than 200 business professionals, social activists and community members.

The competition takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6, at Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s uptown campus. To enter, individuals or teams must submit a one- to three-minute YouTube video pitch and a 500-word proposal online at www.seno-nola.org by 11:59 p.m., Sept. 7. The top 10 proposals will earn a spot in the live PitchNOLA competition at Tulane. Anyone interested in participating as an audience member may visit this same website to register to attend. The audience plays a key role in the competition by providing constructive criticism and helping entrants better connect with resources and contacts.

“The Freeman School of Business is delighted to partner with PitchNOLA to give entrepreneurs a platform to not only hone their presentation skills but to engage and inspire the community with their innovative ideas for social change here in New Orleans,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane.

The individual or team with the most innovative idea will win $1,000 plus executive mentorship, consulting and pro-bono technical assistance from Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO). A second $500 prize will be given to the audience’s favorite pitch.

PitchNOLA is sponsored by SENO, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business. For more information about the competition, visit http://www.seno-nola.org.


Green jobs training program wins top honors at PitchNOLA

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Disposing of used cooking oil is an unpleasant cost of doing business for most restaurants, but one local group is turning that task into green—green fuel, green jobs and green cash.

PitchNOLA 2010

Hamilton Simons-Jones, left, of the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, shakes hands with Joel Tilton of New Orleans Panthers FC as master of ceremonies Chris Reade, center, looks on. Simons-Jones won first place and Tilton won the audience favorite prize at this year's PitchNOLA competition. (Photo by Erica Stavis)

The Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, which trains inner-city youths to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, took home first place and a cash prize of $5,000 at the 2010 PitchNOLA competition, an elevator pitch competition for local social entrepreneurship ventures. The event took place Wednesday (Nov. 17) in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Tulane’s uptown campus.

The competition—a joint presentation of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), Tulane University’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the A. B. Freeman School of Business, the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association and the Young Leadership Council—gave 10 social entrepreneurs three minutes each to pitch their ventures before a panel of judges and a live audience of more than 150 people. The judges evaluated the ventures, which ranged from a fleet of eco-friendly taxi cabs to swimming lessons for urban kids, and provided the entrepreneurs with feedback on their ideas and presentations.

The Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project collects used cooking oil from restaurants, which earn a tax deduction for their donations, and sells the clean-burning biodiesel fuel it makes to fleets and distributors, but the project’s true focus is its social mission. The group provides technical training and job skills to out-of-work young people between the ages of 14 and 25, many of them high school dropouts with few alternatives. In addition to gaining valuable skills for the emerging green economy, all graduates of the program earn a certificate from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), which qualifies them for a variety of well-paying jobs.

Judging this year's competition were, left to right, John Elstrott, Robin Keegan and Roy Glapion. (Photo by Erica Stavis)

“They’re reaching an audience that can really use the help, they have a sustainable plan and they’re building on things that are already in the market,” said John Elstrott, executive director of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship and one of this year’s judges. “It was a nice program, and we wanted to give them help.”

Hamilton Simons-Jones, chief development officer at Operation Reach Inc., which runs the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, said the cash prize will help the group scale up its training program, but he added that one of the biggest benefits of the competition was the chance to network with other social entrepreneurs.

“There were a couple of people who were finalists that I made sure to get cards from,” said Simons-Jones. “We depend on community support and understanding of our work, so to have such a diverse audience like this is awesome.”

In addition to the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project, New Orleans Panthers FC, which operates a soccer club for Central City youths funded in part by a community garden that supplies produce to local restaurants, won a prize of $500 for being voted as favorite pitch by audience members.

Ann Davis of Swim 4 Success, which provides free-of-charge swimming lessons to local kids, gets feedback from the judges after delivering her pitch. (Photo by Erica Stavis)

“We don’t plan on soliciting grants all that much, but if something comes up again, this experience will definitely be a benefit,” said Joel Tilton of New Orleans Panthers FC. “I made some connections and met some interesting people. It’s been a good experience.”

PitchNOLA received nearly 100 entries this year, twice the number it received in 2009. According to Andrea Chen, chair of SENO, that increase speaks to the growth of social entrepreneurship in New Orleans.

“Every year more and more people have ideas, and they’re starting to take action on them because they see all the great examples of people who were just like them,” said Chen. “These are community members who said here’s a problem, I can step up to the plate and solve it and make an impact in my community.”

Funding for this year’s program was provided by Penny Hart, a Tulane parent and member of the Tulane Parents Council.

“I’m an entrepreneur myself and I’ve lived the American Dream, so I love the concept of supporting entrepreneurship,” Hart said. “At the same time, I have three children and I am very concerned about the environment and the future of our earth, so the combination of the two is a really wonderful thing to support.”


Competition to award $5K for best social entrepreneurship idea

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Got an idea to improve life in New Orleans? Enter the 2010 PitchNOLA competition and you could win $5,000 to help make that idea a reality.

TEA Members

The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association is a co-sponsor of PitchNOLA, which will award $5,000 to the best idea to effect positive social change in New Orleans.

PitchNOLA is an elevator-pitch competition for ventures designed to effect positive social or environmental change in New Orleans. Now in its second year, the competition gives local social entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of celebrity judges and a live audience of more than 200 business professionals, social activists and community members. This year, a cash prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs with the most innovative idea, but all the participants will benefit from the opportunity to promote their ventures, get feedback on their presentations and make valuable connections with potential partners and investors.

The 2010 PitchNOLA competition will take place at on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Tulane University’s uptown campus. Individuals or teams interested in participating must submit a 500-word proposal online at www.seno-nola.org no later than Friday, Oct. 15, 2010. Anyone interested in attending PitchNOLA as an audience member can also reserve a seat by visiting www.seno-nola.org.

The best 10 to 15 proposals received by PitchNOLA will be invited to participate in the live competition at Tulane, and those individuals or teams will also receive coaching from Chris Schultz, founder of Voodoo Ventures and co-founder of LaunchPad, and Ralph Maurer, visiting assistant professor of management at Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen a growing interest in solving societal problems through entrepreneurship,” says Andrea Chen of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), one of the event’s sponsors. “With PitchNOLA, we aim to bring creative, innovative minds together and connect them with supporters and resources in the community.”

Chris Williams, president of the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, adds, “Through events like PitchNOLA, we think we can encourage the growth of innovative small businesses, and those businesses are key to keeping Tulane graduates and entrepreneurs in the New Orleans area.”

PitchNOLA is sponsored by Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO), the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane, and the Young Leadership Council.

For more information about the competition, visit http://www.seno-nola.org.



Freeman News is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).
Authorized User: Log in

Switch to our mobile site