15 August 2023
(New Orleans, LA) - Propeller announces the 20 ventures selected for our nationally recognized Impact Accelerator. This program catalyzes transformative social impact by supporting startup and growth entrepreneurs working towards community oriented solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges in community economic development, education, food, health, and water.
There has always been a demand for programs like this, and the COVID pandemic and other challenges from the last several years have increased the need. Consider these statistics:
- 40 % of businesses do not reopen after disasters, 25% fail in the year following a disaster, and 90% of small businesses fail within 2 years of disaster1.
- At the onset of the pandemic, Black business ownership rates dropped 41% between February and April 2020.2
- At Propeller, our last three cohorts from 2019-2022 have a combined 91% survival rate.
"For too long, New Orleans and its entrepreneurs have been called upon to only serve tourists hoping to get a taste of our unique culture. New Orleans is much more than that,” says Erik Paskewich, Propeller Director of Entrepreneurship. “We have the opportunity to nurture growing industries and enterprises started by New Orleanians specifically to serve New Orleanians.”
A community oriented, collaborative approach to economic development is crucial to not only positioning entrepreneurs to tackle the most pressing challenges of our city and region but also to build strength in the face of future threats.
The community economic development focus area centers entrepreneurs operating brick-and-mortars and those working to improve the operating environment for BIPOC entrepreneurs:
- EntrepreNOLA - Janice Meredith
- Harvest - Brandon Pellerin
- Shop Bayou - Sanaa Msemaji
- Universal Printing - Psytia Fleming Jordan
- Whiskey & Sticks - Kelder Summers
Within education, ventures are working to expand the number of high quality early childhood education seats, a critical need for our city and region:
- Kid's Kingdom Academy & Daycare - Lynnette Rivers
- Kingdom Culture Academy - Kisha Brown
- Monarch Learning Academy - Kynisha Jackson
- Small Royalty Learning Center - Dionne Phillips
In the food sector, entrepreneurs with consumer packaged goods
(CPG) brands are emphasizing sustainable, healthy, affordable, and locally-sourced products that elevate the culture of New Orleans:
- Fressence - Zak Khanboubi
- Gingerbooch - Luke Sirinides
- Reju Juice - Kelley Wolfe
- Viola's Heritage Breads - Carla Briggs
Health entrepreneurs are providing direct health and wellness services that address the social and physical determinants of health:
- Community Connection Programs - Jewel Chavis
- JN360WELLNESS - Jhané Garner
- Motivate Wellness Behavioral & Relationship Health Services - Ledora Yerks-Birdlow
- Wake - Liz Dunnebacke
Water ventures are addressing urban flooding issues through green infrastructure and urban stormwater management solutions:
- Big Shane’s Lawncare and Landscaping - Trevor Monnie and Racquel Hayes McKay
- J&C Marks Enterprise - Jay and Chabry Marks
- Whimscapes - Kellye Schroeder and Mariah Theobald
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 2023 Impact Accelerator is generously supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Capital One Bank, Delta Regional Authority, Entergy Corporation, GNO, Inc., Gulf Coast Bank and Trust, Institute for Mental Hygiene, JPMorgan Chase AdvancingCities, New Orleans Business Alliance, Small Business Administration, Target, Thrive New Orleans, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.