Playspace Promoting Toddler Brain Development Wins Startup Funding

Propeller & 4.0 Schools Announce Finalist for PitchNOLA: Education

8 November 2017

NEW ORLEANS (November 9, 2017) PitchNOLA: Education presented by Capital One  awarded $10,000 in total funding to three entrepreneurs working to increase access to quality education for all New Orleanians. Co-hosted by Propeller and 4.0 Schools, the competition brought together educators, parents, students, and entrepreneurs to spotlight new ideas to tackle a daunting reality: an achievement gap starkly divided across lines of race and income at all ages and a young adult population facing high rates of disconnection from work and school.

Following a keynote address from educator, activist and writer Rashida Govan, PhD, 10 entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to tackle educational disparities to a panel of judges including: Matthew Kincaid (Founder of Overcoming Racism), Nolan Marshall Jr. (member of Orleans Parish School Board), Jared Loftus (COO of MasteryPrep) and Jovanshay Brass (student at KIPP Renaissance).

We Play Center, a new initiative of TrainingGrounds took home first prize and $5,000 to fund their free learning center for caregivers and their children three years old and under. The space fills an unmet need for parents and young children: a free, safe space to engage in meanginful activities that promote social and cognitive development. TrainingGrounds currently works with over 800 families and plan to use the $5,000 prize to expand their capacity by 50%, allowing them bring their services to 100 more over the next two years.

1st Place – $5,000 and Audience Favorite Award – $500
We Play Center (Melanie Richardson, Christine Neely) supports, trains, and provides educational programming to parents and caregivers with children ages birth to five. Their parent company is Training Grounds.

2nd Place – $3,000
Upbeat Academy (Matthew Zarba, Dante DiPasquale) provides underprivileged, at-risk children with an opportunity to learn how to produce and perform music.

3rd Place – $2,000
Eat Your Words (Chef Carla Briggs) provides students, teachers, and parents with learning tools that assist in the early learning experience using food. Focuses substantially on pre-k to 2nd grade.


4.0 Schools is a New Orleans based non-profit organization for early-stage education startups and new school models that supports teachers, technologists, and entrepreneurs as they create bold solutions that reimagine the way we teach and learn.