22 December 2017
NEW ORLEANS, LA (Dec. 21, 2017) – Without action, Louisiana faces losing a total of 2,250 additional square miles of coastal land over the coming 50 years and suffering as much as $12.1 billion in annual flood damages.
Propeller’s annual Water Challenge is an annual $15,000 pitch competition event for entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to take on Southeast Louisiana's most pressing regional water challenges. This year’s event seeks small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals with ideas to take on flooding, coastal land loss, water quality – issues that disproportionately impact poor communities and people of color. The competition also seeks entrepreneurs working to increase racial representation in water industries.
For-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, startups, and individuals with ideas to increase equitable outcomes of water issues and industries in Southeast Louisiana are eligible to apply online at GoPropeller.org by the final application deadline on February 2, 2018 and attend upcoming question-and-answer sessions and events. Mature companies must have less than $1mm in annual revenues or must be pitching a new idea or business line. Preference will be given to in-state applicants.
The Water Challenge competition will take place on March 21, 2018 from 6:30–8:30pm during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week at the Propeller Incubator (4035 Washington Avenue). Propeller will select ten semi-finalists to pitch on-stage for $15,000 in total seed funding, awarded by a panel of judges. The Water Challenge is free and open to the public with registration at NOEW.org.
Past Water Challenge winners have been featured in publications including CNN Money, Fast Company, Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, and Politico. Last year’s winner Martin Ecosystems, which uses sustainable materials like recycled plastic water bottles to improve water quality and coastal erosion, said in an interview with Baton Rouge Business Report: “Winning the Water Challenge was important for us because it provided validation in a sense for what we are doing. It put Martin Ecosystems out in front of a large number of people who said, ‘We like what you are doing and see a need for it.’”
Originally launched by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and The Idea Village, the event is funded by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co.