21 March 2017
NEW ORLEANS, LA (Mar. 21, 2017) – On Monday afternoon, Propeller kicked off New Orleans Entrepreneur Week with the 7th Annual Water Challenge. The event featured a $15,000 pitch competition for entrepreneurial ideas to protect coastal environments, improve urban water management, and create jobs in the local water economy.
First place winner Bluefin Data took home $10,000 for VESL, a “hook to database” software platform designed to simplify and consolidate government reporting for the seafood industry. Their goal is to make reporting fast and easy, while increasing data quality.
For winning entrepreneur Andrew Petersen, next steps for Bluefin Data will include expanding to additional government agencies and using collected data to help fishermen and dealers make critical business decisions. As more users join the platform, Bluefin Data will be able to share information like historically productive fishing grounds and trends in seafood availability and health.
The Water Challenge also awarded a $2,500 nonprofit prize to Susannah Burley of Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL). Her project Ya Dig? works to ensure equitable reforestation throughout New Orleans neighborhoods of all demographics and income levels.
William Belisle took home the $2,500 prize for pre-revenue ideas and the Audience Favorite Award for his oil spill remediation containment net, a patented product that can be attached to vessels to collect oil and restrict it from spreading through bodies of water.
Propeller will continue to host events focused on regional water issues throughout New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, including an interactive panel on designing water infrastructure, a happy hour with water experts at Courtyard Brewery, and a walk and learn through the city's green infrastructure projects.
ABOUT THE WATER CHALLENGE
Originally seeded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and The Idea Village, the Water Challenge is funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and supported by Entergy Corporation.
Propeller is a New Orleans-based 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to growing and supporting entrepreneurs to tackle social and environmental disparities.