U.S. Department of Commerce Commits $250,000 to Propeller and the New Orleans Startup Fund

Propeller and the New Orleans Startup Fund will partner to launch an equity investment fund for social entrepreneurs.

15 November 2016

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced this week that Propeller and the New Orleans Startup Fund will receive $250,000 to create the Propeller Social Impact Equity Fund to invest in social entrepreneurs in the Greater New Orleans region.

The Propeller Social Impact Equity Fund is one of only 35 grantees selected from 215 applicants to the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program.  This grant is part of a $15 million nationwide commitment from EDA to promote American innovation and support entrepreneurs who are creating jobs in their communities.

“The 2016 RIS grantees will reach a variety of communities and help entrepreneurs gain the edge they need to succeed,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. 

While the rate of start-ups founded in Metro New Orleans has grown to nearly twice the national average, access to capital for those companies remains limited. The Propeller Social Impact Equity Fund will support New Orleans’s fastest growing, highest impact ventures with the capital they need to expand and create greater economic prosperity.

“We are excited about the opportunity to offer additional equity investments to local companies, and we are thrilled to partner with Propeller, which is home to so many ventures that are solving the most pressing challenges in our community,” said Jimmy Roussel, CEO and President of the New Orleans Startup Fund.

The Propeller Social Impact Equity Fund will build on the success of Propeller’s 2016 Growth Accelerator, where Propeller and the New Orleans Startup Fund partnered to invest in the top two companies in the program, as selected by their peers. The equity fund will launch this spring as a part of Propeller’s 2017 Growth Accelerator, a three-month program designed to help entrepreneurs grow and scale existing business models.

“We have seen a real need in New Orleans for investment capital,” said Andrea Chen, Propeller’s Executive Director.  “The Propeller Social Impact Equity Fund will allow us to offer entrepreneurs the resources they need to take their companies to the next level and create lasting solutions to New Orleans’s social and environmental challenges.”

Coinciding with the announcement of this new partnership, Propeller opened the applications today for its 2017 Growth Accelerator program.  Interested candidates can learn more and apply at: GoPropeller.org/accelerator.

Propeller is a New Orleans-based 501(c)3 nonprofit that drives social, environmental and economic impact in New Orleans by supporting early-stage ventures that have the potential to solve our city’s biggest challenges. 

The New Orleans Startup Fund (The Startup Fund) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) evergreen seed fund established by Greater New Orleans area business and financial leaders to accelerate the growth of early-stage, innovative businesses into venture-ready companies. 

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

Media Contacts:
Catherine Gans   
(504) 302-3747     

Caitlin Berni
(985) 502-7688