Startup St. Bernard Accepting Entries for Annual Business Pitch Competition

ST. BERNARD PARISH, La. – The organizers of "Startup St. Bernard" announced both the opening of the entry period and the new format for their fifth annual business pitch competition, presented by the Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. Details were shared in a press release.

Startup St. Bernard seeks dedicated, enthusiastic entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, on March 28. The entry period opened on Monday, Jan. 7, and closes at 11:59 p.m.(CST) on Saturday, Feb. 9.

"Each year we are thrilled with the quality of the finalists that make it to the live pitch event. I'm glad I'm not one of the judges who has to make the tough decision of picking a winner," said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation. "We started this competition five years ago to showcase what St. Bernard Parish has to offer startups and to support economic development. We were especially pleased to recently celebrate the grand opening of Clean Course Meals, last year's Startup St. Bernard winner. And we're looking forward to helping this year's winner grow right here in St. Bernard too." 

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Three finalists will be selected to pitch their business to a panel of judges and a live audience. The prize packages in previous years have each been valued at more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services; this year's prize package is still being developed and will be announced soon. All finalists will receive a cash prize of at least $5000. The Startup St. Bernard winner will receive the grand prize package including a mix of cash and in-kind donations. In the past, in-kind donations have included services ranging from legal and accounting to marketing and public relations.

“Startup St. Bernard has discovered so many talented entrepreneurs and unique business concepts, but only one finalist has taken home a prize in years past,” said Andrew Jacques, executive director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation.  “This year, we’re excited to jumpstart triple the amount of ideas with prizes for all three finalists as we enter our fifth year of the annual competition.”

The Startup St. Bernard Challenge is open to any business that will:
1.       Locate their base of operations to St. Bernard Parish for at least two years
2.       Improve St. Bernard Parish
3.       Actively participate in the St. Bernard Parish entrepreneur ecosystem  

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To qualify, entrants must have been in business for five years or less, or be an existing business creating a new division or entity. They must have a yearly revenue below $1,000,000, and five employees or less. They cannot be a non-profit.

The Shark Tank-style public event is open to any business that meets the entry criteria and is passionate about joining St. Bernard Parish’s growing business community. Previous winners have included 40 Arpent Brewing Company, Christie’s Dreams Seafood, Reactive Digital Systems, LLC, and Clean Course Meals.

Judges will score entries based on the quality of the business plans and how the startups will improve St. Bernard by creating jobs, investing capital into the parish, providing needed products or services to the region, and/or contributing to the growth of the core Startup St. Bernard sectors: creative digital media, cultural arts/cultural economy, health and wellness, advanced manufacturing/value-added manufacturing, logistics, and the seafood industry.

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1. Submit Your Business Plan Online
Entrepreneurs must complete the entry form and submit a business plan at by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.

2.  Committee Select Finalists
A selection committee with business expertise will review the submissions and score the entries. The three highest-scoring businesses will be selected to pitch the judges at the Startup St. Bernard entrepreneur challenge.

3. Finalists Pitch for a Chance to Win
Finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges in a TED Talks-style presentation format. The live public event will take place during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March 2019.

Questions about the competition or entry criteria can be directed to

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