Finalists Awarded $27,500 at PitchNOLA 2012

Winners are announced for the Community Solutions and Lots of Progress competitions at the fourth annual PitchNOLA event.

20 November 2012

The fourth annual PitchNOLA event took place on Nov. 14th and Nov. 15th, and resulted in a total amount of $27,500 in cash prizes.  Between the two competitions, Community Solutions and Lots of Progress, we received 100+ high-quality applications with 650+ people registered to attend.



PitchNOLA 2012 kicked off with the Community Solutions competition held at Tulane University on Wednesday, Nov. 14th. Ten Semi-Finalists took the stage to give their 3-minute pitch for an idea that solved a social or environmental problem in New Orleans. Ideas ranged from a youth radio station to a way for public schools to find great substitutes. The evening’s judges included Bill Bohnett, Judy Reese Morse, and Leslie Jacobs.

Initially, we had a $5,000 1st Place Prize, and a Baker Donelson sponsored Audience Favorite Award of $500. However, in an unexpected turn of events, an anonymous attendee contributed $12,000 to fund a $4,000 2nd Place prize, a $3,000 3rd Place prize, and $5,000 in seed funding for another Semi-Finalist, Smiles2Geaux, a mobile dental clinic founded by Propeller Fellow Dr.Yaye Sarr that provides free dental care to youth in schools and the elderly!


1st Place: Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana (JAC)

Founders: Ameca Reali and Adrienne Wheeler (2012 Propeller Fellows)

JAC provides expungements to individuals previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes to help them get back to work instead of back to prison.


2nd Place & Audience Favorite Award: Birthmark Doula Collective

Founders: Latona Giwa and Dana Karen (2012 Propeller Fellows)

Birthmark Doula Collective works to address the horrible birth outcomes in New Orleans by facilitating better birth experiences for women.  The Doula Collective works to provide all women, regardless of ability to pay, the opportunity to choose what kind of prenatal and birth experience is best for themselves and their families.


3rd Place:  The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project

Founder: Megan Nuismer

The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is an urban harvesting program that collects fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and makes it accessible to those struggling with hunger.



On Thursday, Nov. 15th, Propeller welcomed the public for the first time to the Propeller Social Innovation Incubator, located at 4035 Washington Avenue. 250+ attendees filled the room to watch 11 Semi-Finalists give a 3-minute pitch for utilizing a vacant or blighted property for community benefit. This year’s judges included world-renowned chef John Besh, NORA Executive Director Jeff Hebert and Dr. Maurice Cox, Director of Tulane City Center.


1st Place: Get Fruity About Trees

Founder: David Young

Get Fruity About Trees will transform 2 vacant lots in the Lower 9th Ward into a citrus, banana and fig orchard.


2nd Place: Goats of Progress

Founders: Caitlin Bergo, David Behmer, Jacquelyn Dadakis

Goats of Progress is a property-maintenance service that harnesses the natural appetite of goats to control undesirable vegetation.


3rd Place: Develop Abundance

Founders: Cat Kochanski

Develop Abundance uses hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic technologies to provide resources to communities in need.



Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, Tulane Social Innovation Initiatives, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business, Metropolitan Opportunities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Adams & Reese Law Firm, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, New Orleans Metro SourceLink (Regional Planning Commission), Line 58, Capital One Bank, Urban Land Institute, and Louisiana Office of Community Development. 

Ventures mentioned in this post

Birthmark Doula Collective

Birthmark Doula Collective

Latona Giwa & Dana Keren

Areas of focus: Health
Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana

Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana

Ameca Reali & Adrienne Wheeler

Areas of focus: Social Justice