Propeller announces 2022 Impact Accelerator Ventures

Propeller announces the 19 participants selected for its nationally recognized 2022 Impact Accelerator.

4 August 2022

(New Orleans, LA) - Propeller announces the 19 participants selected for its nationally recognized 2022 Impact Accelerator. This program catalyzes transformative social impact by supporting startup and growth entrepreneurs working to narrow disparities in community economic development, education, food, health, and water.

Our entrepreneurial community has endured disasters and challenges over the past several years. Forty percent of businesses do not reopen after disasters, another 25% fail in the year following a disaster, and 90% of small businesses fail within 2 years of disaster. At the onset of the pandemic, Black business ownership rates dropped 41% between February and April 2020.

“These 19 organizational leaders have committed to working together to meet the most acute needs of New Orleanians while building strength in our local entrepreneurial ecosystem through solidarity and collaboration. Propeller is honored to work with green infrastructure companies with innovative methods for flood mitigation, beverage and  consumer packaged goods leveraging New Orleans’ culinary brand, early childhood education centers, new businesses on the Broad Street commercial corridor, and health services in communities needing it most,” said Erik Paskewich, Propeller Director of Entrepreneurship.

The community economic development focus area centers Black entrepreneurs growing brick-and-mortar businesses on the Broad St. commercial corridor and organizations improving the operating environment for BIPOC entrepreneurs.

  • Alliance for Cultural Equity – Ayo Fayemi-Robinson
  • District E Business Alliance – Muriel Lewis & Andre Gonzaque
  • Froot – Romander “Mannie” King
  • Soule Cafe – Kina Bullock
  • Gloria’s Garden – Gloria Ward

Within education, ventures are working to expand the number of high quality early childhood education seats and bring equitable, culturally relevant practices to education systems in New Orleans.

  • ALAS – Lisa Maria Rhodes
  • Dryades Early Learning & Youth Development Center – Sheila Matute
  • Little Steps Learning Center – Lakisha Mcleod & Aronisha Mickell

In food, entrepreneurs with consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are emphasizing sustainable, healthy, affordable, and locally-sourced products that elevate New Orleans culture.

  • Ceres – Rich Simmerman & Branson Morgan
  • Element Beverage Co. – Keishia Deverney
  • KD’s NOLA Treats – Kimberly Dejan
  • Yoro – Robert Haynes

Health entrepreneurs are providing direct health and wellness services that address the social and physical determinants of health.

  • Breath Is Life Spa – Julie Menhati Singleton
  • Fleur-de-Lis Primary Care – Dr. Courtney Washington
  • Phoenix Project – Erin Marrero

Water ventures are addressing urban flooding issues and coastal loss, while providing meaningful local employment opportunities.

  • Delta Builds – Dr. Dorothy Nairne
  • Flourish Horticulture – Fabian Harper
  • Garden Picasso – Preston Robinson
  • Sankofa Native Plant Nursery – Rashida Ferdinand & Naish Williams

Since 2011, Propeller has accelerated over 300 ventures that have generated over $290 million in revenue and external financing, created over 485 new jobs, and transformed thousands of lives in New Orleans and beyond.

The 2022 Impact Accelerator is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Capital One Bank, Clif Bar Foundation, Entergy Corporation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, GNO, Inc., JPMorgan Chase AdvancingCities, Keller Family Foundation, New Orleans Business Alliance, The RosaMary Foundation, Thrive New Orleans, the Weishaupt Family Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.