Who We Are
Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting social innovation in New Orleans. We launch and support early-stage companies—for-profits, nonprofits, and hybrids—that have the potential to solve our city’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Our vision is to achieve lasting systemic change in our community through a collaborative, multi-level process engaging both grassroots innovators and high-level policymakers. Our target sectors for change include public health, education, food access, criminal and social justice, housing, economic development, and coastal erosion.
What We Do
Propeller focuses on the social impact, financial sustainability, and scalability of the ventures we work with. Our theory of change involves analyzing and assessing sectors for gaps, building a strong pipeline of social innovators, accelerating the most promising early-stage ideas, and providing a collaborative workspace for innovators in our 10,000 s.f. facility.
At the core of our work lies our 10-month Social Venture Accelerator, designed to launch and scale the innovative solutions of social entrepreneurs, both for-profit and nonprofit. The Accelerator provides strategic consulting, mentorship, access to networks and funding, and technical assistance in areas such as accounting, marketing, and legal.
Why We’re Here
The hunger for change and the spirit of innovation around New Orleans was clear and inspiring as the region rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. Propeller, formerly SENO (Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans), was founded in 2006 by a diverse volunteer group of social entrepreneurs and community members in the months following the storm. Our founding group, most of whom had lived in New Orleans prior to the storm, was astounded by the surge in civic engagement and grassroots activism. We saw tremendous opportunity to channel this new energy into solving local challenges and helping maintain the vitality of this momentum. In 2010, at LaunchPad NOLA, Propeller began operations with full-time staff.
Our Awards & Appointments
- 2009 Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business
- 2009 Louisiana Social Innovator Award from Lieutenant Governor’s Office of Social Innovation
- Featured in Entrepreneur magazine
- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Social Innovation Transition Task Force Appointment
- New Orleans Business Alliance (Public Private Partnership) Board appointment
- Tulane University Sacks Chair Search Committee appointment