Posts Tagged ‘Propeller’

Applications now open for PitchNOLA 2015

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Have an idea to solve a social problem in New Orleans? Enter the 2015 PitchNOLA competition and you could win $10,000 to help turn your idea into a reality.

PitchNOLA is an elevator pitch competition for ventures with the potential to address local challenges.

PitchNOLA entrants can win up to $10,000 to help bring their social change ideas to market.

PitchNOLA: Community Solutions is a live “elevator pitch” competition that offers community members a platform to pitch their solutions to pressing local problems. Presented by the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane’s Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching and Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, the competition seeks ideas that support children and families, the environment, workforce development, and economic security. A lengthy business plan isn’t required to enter. Applicants should be startup-stage ventures that have generated less than $50,000 in sales or grant funding in the previous calendar year.

This year’s competition will take place on Jan. 28, 2015, at Tulane University. Selected semifinalists will pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and a panel of celebrity judges, including Matt Flannery, founder of Kiva and Puddle, and Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund and founder of PowerMoves NOLA. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 to help bring his or her venture to market as well as pro bono technical assistance and consulting services from Propeller, which provides support for New Orleans-based social entrepreneurship ventures. In addition to the grand prize, an Audience Favorite Award, voted by audience members, will also be presented.

In its six year history, PitchNOLA has built an impressive record for helping to get high-impact social change ventures to the next level. Last year’s winner, Crescent City Connections, has since recruited 1,200 volunteers, facilitated contribution of over $155,000 in labor to worthwhile causes, and was named one of the top businesses to watch in 2014 by New Orleans Magazine. The Justice and Accountability Center, which earned first-place honors in 2012, has provided expungements to over 1,000 individuals previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes, significantly helping to reduce recidivism.

The contest is open to individuals or teams based in the greater New Orleans area and the deadline for applications is Dec. 19, 2014. For more information about the competition and to apply online, visit




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.

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