And The Winner Is…

Today’s wide variety of entrepreneurial competitions offer a great way to jump start a business.

There are many ways to get into the entrepreneurial game, but few offer budding businesspeople the chance to jump-start a new project the way entrepreneurial contests do.

In addition, few things make more clear how much of an entrepreneurial city New Orleans has become than the number of these contests that are hosted here annually. From arts to science, education to water management, they are a constant presence on the startup scene.

The following is just a small cross-section of these contests.

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Downtown Arts NOLA Business Pitch (March 23, 2015): designed for arts-based businesses that demonstrate economic potential while also highlighting the spirit and culture of Downtown New Orleans. $25,000 cash prize plus business consulting services.

BioChallenge Business Pitch (2015 date t.b.a.): part of the Innovation Louisiana entrepreneurship conference, this contest focuses on biomedical and life-science businesses. $25,000 cash prize plus professional services and office space.

4.0 Schools Start-Up Incubator (New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 20-27, 2015): education business ideas that show promise for helping students, parents and educators.

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Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

$10,000 cash prize plus business support services.

The Water Challenge (New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 20-27, 2015): for startups that address coastal restoration and water management issues in Louisiana. $10,000 cash prize plus business support services.

Start-Up Weekend (Global Entrepreneurship Week, 2015 dates t.b.a.): this is the local link to a worldwide contest. Ideas are refined with expert advice in a team setting, then advance through international pitches.

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Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) (March 23, 2015): aimed at businesses that will have a positive impact on Jefferson Parish. $20,000 cash prize plus in-kind services.

The next two are examples of contests targeted to specific individuals who are frequently under-represented in the entrepreneurial world.

VetLaunch Business Accelerator (2015 date t.b.a.): for U.S. military veterans looking to start businesses. Winners are accepted into a nine-week business accelerator program and provided with mentoring and business skills training.

PowerMoves.Nola (Essence Festival, July 3-5, 2015): now connected to Essence Festival, this contest aims to increase minority-owned businesses in New Orleans. The program is receiving increasing national attention, with some of the festival’s top stars sitting in or sending representatives. $25,000 cash prize.

Many of these contests are affiliated with organizations that offer other opportunities and support to potential new businesses. Virtually all of them attract audiences of investors and business experts. This means that even participants who don’t win have an opportunity to make valuable connections and advance their ideas.

Just the experience of organizing and pitching your new business idea is valuable. Participating in these contests is a great experience – what have you got to lose?




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