10 Entrepreneurs Pitch for $10,000 to Tackle Educational Disparities

Propeller & 4.0 Schools Announce Semi-Finalists for the Inaugural PitchNOLA: Education

19 October 2015

Media Contact:

Catherine Gans    
(504) 302-3747  


NEW ORLEANS, LA (October 19, 2015) Today, Propeller and 4.0 Schools announce the 10 semi-finalists who will pitch their ideas at the inaugural PitchNOLA: Education, a live pitch competition seeking entrepreneurial solutions to improve education outcomes for all New Orleanians – from early childcare to additional alternatives to four-year college degrees.

Semi-finalists will compete for a total of $10,000 in seed funding provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The competition will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Propeller Incubator at 4035 Washington Ave. Tickets are free (with a suggested $5 donation to fund the Audience Favorite Award) on Eventbrite.

PitchNOLA: Education is the latest installment in Propeller’s PitchNOLA series, a series of issue-specific business pitch competitions tackling areas including health and blight. Since 2009, PitchNOLA has contributed over $70,000 to 22 ventures. Semi-finalists were selected on the basis of potential to reduce or eliminate educational disparities for underserved New Orleanians, financial sustainability, and viability.

Following a presentation by keynote speaker Michael Stone, co-CEO of New Schools for New Orleans, semi-finalists will take the stage for three minutes each to pitch their ideas onstage in front of the judging panel and live audience. Following the presentations, the judging panel will select three finalists for a round of follow-up questions to determine the first, second, and third prize winners.

Awards will be awarded by a panel of judges, including Kathleen Padian, Former Deputy Superintedent for the Orleans Parish School Board, Forrest Collins, Director of Recruitment for the Algiers Charter School Association, Amanda Kruger, Executive Director of the Cowen Institute, and Deirdre Johnson Burel, Executive Director of OPEN (Orleans Public Education Network).

The audience will select the winner for the “Audience Favorite” award, a minimum $500 prize funded by audience donations and determined by a text-in vote.

Introducing the PitchNOLA: Education semi-finalists:

(Leona Christy)
Catalyst:ED helps education organizations access short-term talent for long-term impact by leveraging the expertise already present in the education sector to help create better academic and life outcomes for all kids.

College Bridge New Orleans
(Paris Woods)
College Bridge New Orleans helps New Orleans public school graduates enroll and succeed in college by providing assistance with financial aid applications, summer support with the enrollment process, and experienced guides who work directly with students as they transition to college the first year. College Bridge also provides micro grants to students for emergencies through college graduation, and data tracking for partner institutions.

Young Creative Agency
(Alberta Wright)
Young Creative Agency provides youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the creative economy.

RAE Grooming Barbershop, LLC
(Jerome Morgan & Daniel Rideau)
The mission of RAE Grooming Barbershop, LLC is to prevent youth in the juvenile justice system from entering a cycle of incarceration by mentoring young men into manhood through a paid apprenticeship program and a pathway to long-term stable self- employment in barbering and personal grooming.

Electric Girls
(Flora Serna & Maya Ramos)
Electric Girls develops girls into confident leaders and role models in technology.

The Southern History Project
(Sheila Sundar)
Through development of engaging, relevant social studies curricula tailored to southern schools, the Southern History Project aims to build a school-to-policy pipeline, increasing the number of students from the American South who graduate college to enter fields of law, advocacy, and public policy.

The Resilient Teacher
(Stephanie Choy)
The Resilient Teacher supports and empowers new teachers to thrive in high needs, urban schools by providing them access to high quality mental health and counseling services.

College Writing Buddies
(Hilah Barbot & Adam Kohler)
College Writing Buddies digitally unites university and low-income students in the fight to bridge the writing achievement gap.

The NewlyMinted: Leader
(Nicole Williams)
A video-based online leadership academy that provides engaging lessons to busy, neophyte leaders in the crucial competencies needed to disrupt inequitable school practices, develop fractal leadership schools, and empower others to transform their communities.

(Alexandra Becker)
NOLA Go! increases access to public transportation and a coordinated system of youth services and resources, ranging from the New Orleans Public Library, to recreation centers, to after-school programs.