PitchNOLA Doubles Prize Money, Awards $20,000 to Health and Food Ideas

Four winners take home awards at PitchNOLA: Living Well presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

24 May 2018

PitchNOLA: Living Well presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana awarded $20,000 last night to entrepreneurs increasing affordable access to health care and nutritious food for all New Orleanians.

The competition, which originally planned to split $10,000 between two entrepreneurs in food and health, received an anonymous donation at the tail end of the event. This donation doubled the prize money and it was decided to award $5,000 to each of the four semi-finalists. The four winners are:

  • Okra Abbey is a sacred space for recreation of the spirit - a giving garden growing food to support our neighbors in need.
  • RePurpose Food Co. rescues food waste to create healthy baby food for low-income communities of color.
  • Gienetix provides innovative products that remove harmful plaque and bacteria to tackle periodontal disease and the systemic health issues they cause.
  • Saul’s Light Foundation helps New Orleans families navigate the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) journey by providing non-medical, financial assistance and supports them through the trauma of infant loss by offering mental health-based services. Saul’s Light Foundation also received the Audience Favorite Award of $500.

Bill Masterton, President and CEO of the University Medical Center delivered the keynote address, and prizes were awarded by judges Leslie Jacobs, founder of Educate Now, Dr. Lana Joseph, founder of High Level Speech & Hearing Center, Kate Parker, Executive Director of Market Umbrella, and Christy Ross, Vice President of Health Grants at Baptist Community Ministries.

Propeller also honored local leaders dedicated to advancing equitable access to health and food in New Orleans. Latona Giwa and Nikki Hunter Greenway, co-founders of the New Orleans Breastfeeding Center were recognized as Health Equity Champions and the City of New Orleans Office of Community and Economic Development was commended as a Food Equity Champion.