This is a past Pitch NOLA opportunity

PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions

Present your community solution at our elevator pitch competition

We are seeking all early-stage ideas that tackle a pressing social and environmental challenge. Ten selected semi-finalists will pitch on November 14, 2012 at the PitchNOLA: Community Solutions pitch event. Winners will gain exposure, up to $6,000 in cash awards, consulting, and pro bono technical assistance.

PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions is a social innovation “elevator pitch” competition open to individuals and teams with an idea for a financially and organizationally sustainable venture or project that solves a pressing social or environmental challenge.

Participants do not need to submit a completed business plan. Entrants need only submit a short online application. Ten semi-finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas live during PitchNOLA 2012 to a 200+ voting audience and panel of judges on Wednesday November 14, 2012 at 6:30pm.

The event is OPEN TO ALL community members in the Greater New Orleans area. The “First Place Winner” will receive $5,000 cash prize, pro bono technical assistance, and consulting through Propeller. The “Audience Favorite,” sponsored by Baker Donelson Law Firm, will win a $500 cash prize and pro bono legal services.


  • The contest is open to anyone residing in the Greater New Orleans Area, including for profits, nonprofits, and individuals or teams with or without an incorporated business.

  • Organization’s revenue (sales, grant funding, capital, earned revenue, etc.) shall not have exceeded $50,000 in 2011

  • Pitched idea should be a stand-alone effort that operates independently of existing organizations (including, but not limited to, governance, management, staff, and infrastructure).

  • The contest is designed for projects that are in their infancy. To confirm eligibility, please contact Julia Stewart


Summary of the Idea

Clearly identify the social and/or environmental challenge and describe the proposed solution. Applicants who make it to the final round will have this summary included in the competition press release and posted on and

Problem Statement

Clearly identify and describe the social or environmental challenge your solution will address. Statistics on the scale and seriousness of the problem, if available, are highly encouraged. We will give preference to specific rather than general or vague problem statements.

Product or Service Description

Describe the specific product or service your organization will provide. Describe how your programs, products, or services will potentially be more effective or efficient at addressing a social or environmental problem than what currently exists. Describe what will be different about the community because of your solution. If there are similar programs, you can mention how you differentiate yourself from other programs.

Market Demand

Provide a rough calculation of the market size (i.e. 5,000 New Orleans households living below the poverty line) for your product or service and describe the target audience or your potential customers. If you have paying customers, describe why you are confident that customers will want to pay for your product or service. [Note: social ventures often have two target markets: those who can pay and those who cannot pay. For example, your target market could be low-income children who do not have the wherewithal to pay for services. If you plan to fund your services through another source of revenue (i.e. customers who can pay, government, etc.), please state this.]

Financial Sustainability

Tell us how much it will cost to implement your solution and give us a breakdown of what the costs will be in its first year Tell us how your solution will be paid for in the first year and by whom.


Convince us that you and your teammates have what it takes to make your social venture a reality. You may include information on your credentials, your commitment, or any pilot successes or milestones that have been achieved up to this point.


Throughout all rounds of the competition, judges will assess ideas according to these criteria:

1) Potential Social or Environmental Impact:

  • A clear, specific, and compelling problem statement
  • The potential measurable scale and influence of the pitched idea on the identified social or environmental challenge
  • Potential for tangible and measurable impact to the beneficiary population
  • Level of innovation of concept and model that differentiates the idea from what currently exists

2) Financial Sustainability:

  • Proposed ventures should have a clear plan for long-term revenue generation and financial sustainability

3) Viability

  • The potential for the idea to be implemented
  • The potential for the idea to have a concrete impact
  • The potential for the idea to be financially sustainable

About the 2012 Judges

Bill Bohnett
Mr. Bohnett is President of Whitecap Investments LLC, an investment firm, and an early investor and member of the Board of Directors of GeoCities, an Internet community company that subsequently merged with Yahoo!. He has been a board member of many acclaimed institutions, such as the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution, the Council on Competitiveness, The Synergos Institute, and City Harvest. Mr. Bohnett was a partner in the New York office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Mr. Bohnett is a 1970 graduate of Princeton University and its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1974. He is married, has three grown children and has homes in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and Jupiter Island, Florida.

Judy Reese Morse
Judy Reese Morse serves as Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff of the City of New Orleans. In this capacity, she oversees the Mayor’s Office and is responsible for overseeing policy development and strategic planning for economic development, education, social innovation, international affairs, coastal and environmental affairs, and cultural economy. Ms. Morse most recently served as Co-Chair of Transition New Orleans and as the Chief of Staff in the Office of Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Prior to joining the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, she worked at National Public Radio in Washington, DC. There, she served as director of corporate communications, focusing primarily on attracting new audiences as public radio listeners. Ms. Morse was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow serving at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Resolution Trust Corporation. Morse has an undergraduate degree in Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans and a Master of Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC.

Leslie Jacobs
Leslie Jacobs is an award-winning education reform advocate, business executive and philanthropist. Born in New Orleans, she built her family’s small, independent insurance agency into one of the largest in the South, before merging the Rosenthal Agency with Hibernia National Bank (now Capital One). For the last 25 years, she has been a passionate voice for education reform, serving initially as an elected member of the Orleans Parish School Board and then as a member of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). She is also the founder of “Educate Now!”, a non-profit dedicated to continuing the broad, post-Katrina reforms of New Orleans public schools she helped institute and execute as a member of the BESE. Leslie has served as the past Chair of GNO Inc., Vice-chair of the New Orleans Business Alliance, Vice-chair of the New Orleans Business Council, and CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund, a nonprofit venture fund focused on business creation and innovation in the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region.


The competition will take place in two rounds

Round I: The first round of the competition will be based on a written proposal, which must be submitted via online application by October 15, 2012. Proposals will be scored by a committee of business leaders, academic faculty, and community members with experience and expertise in community revitalization and social/environmental impact organizations. A maximum of 10 semi-finalists will be selected and notified by Oct. 27, 2012. Semi-finalists are required to attend the Pitch Workshop (see below).

Pitch Workshop (required for semi-finalists): Selected semi-finalists are required to attend “pitch“ workshop to receive feedback on the planned pitch and three Powerpoint slides. The pitch workshop will take place on November 5, 2012 from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Tulane University, Freeman Auditorium. The three slides accompanying the pitch must be submitted to Julia Stewart by November 3, 2012. We will provide guidance prior to the workshop on how to develop your slides and pitches. If you or someone from your team cannot attend this workshop, you will not be able to participate in the live pitch event on Nov 14th.

Round II: PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions! The second round of the competition will take place at PitchNOLA 2012. Semi-finalists will have three minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of “celebrity judges” and 200-300 audience members. Following the presentations, the panel of three judges will ask finalists questions. Judges will select the First Place winner in front of the live audience and audience members will select an “Audience Favorite.”


The “First Place Winner” will receive a $5,000 cash prize, pro bono technical assistance, and consulting through Propeller. The “Audience Favorite,” sponsored by Baker Donelson Law Firm, will win a $500 cash prize and $500 in legal services.

Note: Winners are expected to use the award money and consulting hours in order to advance their winning ideas. Semi-finalists are also encouraged to develop their ideas further and apply for the Propeller 2013 Social Venture Accelerator, if eligible.

Audience Participation

Audience members will play a key role in this competition as part of PitchNOLA’ss goal to better connect social entrepreneurs with networks and resources. Using provided feedback cards, audience members will offer constructive criticism, ideas on funding, potential contacts, and other helpful resources.

Interested in joining our audience? Click here to register. The competition will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, Freeman Auditorium. (Note: PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2012 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, Propeller Incubator, 4035 Washington Avenue).

More Information: Contact Julia Stewart with questions, and/or comments.

Key Dates

  • October 15, 2012, 11:59pm CST

    Deadline for online applications

  • October 27, 2012

    10 PitchNOLA semi-finalists announced

  • November 3, 2012

    PitchNOLA Powerpoint slides due to Propeller at

  • November 5, 2012

    Pitch workshop for 10 semi-finalists at Tulane University, Woldenberg Art Center, Freeman Auditorium

  • November 14, 2012, 6:30pm-8:30pm

    PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions final competition event before live audience of 200-300 community members