What our Fellows and Partners are saying about Propeller

Propeller’s experience gave me a lot of things that I can put into practice. It was challenging, like going to school for me. But without a doubt, I wouldn’t change doing it because it was necessary for our growth to make these steps, to make these connections, and to bring these tools into practice. Next year, we as a team will be a lot stronger for it.

Touré Folkes
Turning Tables

The biggest thing I think I learned during the Propeller program was more that it takes a real team to be successful. Growing up, I always played team sports, so I understand the team concept. But, finding the right players to be part of your team is pivotal. You can’t just think you can do it all yourself. You really have to trust other peoples’ judgement and those that have been there before you who can guide you through this process. I forever feel like Propeller is family, and I look forward to continuing to work together.

Joel Holton
J.B. Holton and Associates

Stepping into this environment as an entrepreneur just really taught me that the questions are limitless. Being around so many other people and ventures – being with other entrepreneurs – taught me that inquiry is where it’s at. That’s how your project grows, how you find connections, how you find new people. My biggest takeaway from Propeller is to ask as many questions as you possibly can because that’s how you’re going to take your venture to the next level…” “…I feel like my experience is wrapped up in the relationship I was able to establish with my Lead Mentor. Propeller’s network is so vast and so clear that we got exactly what we needed when we needed it. What we needed to do was to figure out how we were going to finance this project and build a model a few years out so that it’s sustainable. The only reason we were able to do that is because of how we were matched with the right person.

Joy Okoro
Eden Project

My experience was amazing overall. I think the biggest thing I’m taking forward are the connections I’ve made. Every time that I thought of something that I needed or a problem that I had, my program manager would say, “oh, here’s this person that you need to talk to, and here’s this person that you need to talk to” so I have just long lists of connections, resources, and websites. For any problem that I might have, I have a resource for that.

Fran Trautmann
Glass Half Full (Propeller '21)

We feel this program is a great and valuable asset to us as a new business. The resources and experience from the team has really helped us be mindful in what we need to concentrate on for the business to grow.
…even further, through this pandemic, we found that it’s important to stay open to serve the community surrounding our store. And having fresh produce available for the families around here was instrumental in keeping residents staying local and not venturing too far out during the stay home-mandate.

Anthony Dau
Co-owner, Matt’s Grocery (Healthy Corner Store Collaborative 2019-20)

Propeller gave me EVERYTHING that I needed to continue successfully building my business. Every individual and group meeting was carefully planned to make the best of the time spent with the program. I am most impressed by the accountability that is offered during individual meetups. They didn’t just give me a lead mentor and hope that all went well with the pairing, but provided a mediator to assure that my needs as a business owner were best served.

In this one setting, not only have I observed other Black women who have matriculated through the program and experienced follow-up success – but I also received empowering words from Black women of excellence who too were confident in my success if I simply allow myself to arrive prepared and ready to be fully present. The segment on race and economic development offered a sense of authenticity to the program that I’ve had yet to witness in ANY of the accelerators I’ve engaged with.

Journey Allen, Artist Journey Allen Gallery Studio
Founder, Artist Journey Allen Gallery Studio (Impact Accelerator 2019)

The Accelerator was a huge benefit to me and my business. When the program started, I had been in business about a year and a half and had just gone through a very tough stretch during COVID-19. My revenue stayed completely flat for 4-5 months. During the program, I began to redirect more of my time towards serving the community, meeting with families to help connect them to free healthcare resources in the area. Amazingly, my revenue has soared, increasing over 50% year-to-date. All of this…because of placing a bigger emphasis on community service. I am so happy to have been a part of Propeller’s Accelerator program. I have never felt so connected to New Orleans, or so firmly confident of the success of my business.

Casey Urschel
Owner, Uptown Benefits (Impact Accelerator 2020)

Propeller’s programming is very well-thought-out and, despite a pandemic, impeccably presented safely, in a very engaging way, while 100% virtually. Deciding to participate in any Propeller event, workshop or program will sharpen your business skills, your awareness, and provide you with a community of like-minded socially conscious entrepreneurs. Everyone [is] working mindfully within a context that is relevant, progressive and dynamic.

Adrianne "Ajax" Jackson
Founder, Magnolia Yoga Studio

Propeller is everything that is right about the social venture sector here in New Orleans. Nothing creates communal change better than surrounding yourself with 30 socially minded companies. Going into propeller, Top Box was stuck in 1st gear, we were moving forward but the pace was starting to scare Connor and myself. After three months in Propeller, we have a plan to scale, a budget and a better sense of our self-worth.

Sam Heyman
Co-Founder, Top Box Foods (Propeller'15)

Propeller is the driver of our initial success. Ninety percent of ideas lose momentum and don’t go anywhere because execution is so hard. Propeller is the reason we have been able to achieve our initial success and feel confident that we can launch our pilot to scale.

David Kulick
Co-Founder, Harmony Health Care (Propeller'15)

Propeller’s Accelerator Program far exceeded expectations. Propeller’s connections to business leaders and pro-bono network combined with the lead mentor coaching sessions were valuable to our company’s success, and significantly decreased the time needed to build and launch our company. We are forever grateful for Propeller and expect future ventures in New Orleans to receive tremendous value from Propeller.

Kurt Fiore
Co-Founder, Harmony Health Care (Propeller'15)

Before applying to the program, all I had was an idea. I had no clue how to turn it into a business. Since being part of the Accelerator program, the idea I had in my head for so long is now an actual program that will benefit youth in the coming years.

Christina Quijano
Founder, Coastal Waters Workforce (Propeller'15)

When we came to Propeller, we were two people with a lot of passion and years of experience working to get people out of prison and keep them out. We had a good idea and thought through what it would take to get [things] done. Unfortunately, we had no experience with how to actually run an organization. Working with Propeller allowed us to translate our passion into a plan for a sustainable organization.

Kelly Orians
Co-Founder, RisingFoundations (Propeller'15)

Propeller’s 12-week Accelerator program was scary, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. They hear your challenges and work with you on a personal level to create viable solutions to overcome those challenges. I know that if I ever need assistance once the program is over that I can still shoot an email to anyone on the team. Propeller is all about community, and you can sense that as soon as you step foot in the building.

Lauren Perry
Founder, The Beautiful Foundation (Propeller'15)

We’re so grateful for the opportunity to continue building unCommon Construction as part of such an incredible community of experienced mentors, entrepreneurs and resources! Everyone at Propeller has been so generous with their insight, expertise and time.

Aaron Frumin
Founder, unCommon Construction (Propeller'15)

My work with Andrea Chen and her team at Propeller aimed to launch a database that connects schools with local farmers. I was thrilled not only with the fast track implementation plan we established for piloting my project, but with the expertise, mentorship, resources and professionalism that accompanies working with Propeller.

Katie Mularz
Founder, Louisiana Farm to School Alliance:Farm2School Database (Propeller'15)

The Propeller Accelerator Program helped us develop critical connections, structure and momentum to grow our program from a concept to a forthcoming reality. Without the support of the Propeller mentors, team and supportive community, we would not have been able to progress so substantially in such a short window. We are deeply appreciative of Propeller’s competent and committed support.

Sophie Harris
Co-Founder, Growing the Greenway (Propeller'15)

Propeller was a tremendously beneficial experience for both myself and my organization. The program provided me with invaluable support, advice, and resources that truly propelled my organization to new heights.

Connor DeLoach
Co-Founder, Top Box Foods (Propeller'15)

Propeller excels in its ability to facilitate connections between local experts and social entrepreneurs. Our participation in the Impact Accelerator led us to meet key stakeholders in our field that we may not have met otherwise.

Emily Gaddis
Co-Founder, Gator & Crane, Inc. (Propeller'15)

In a short three months, the Propeller Accelerator Program has pushed me to grow into a focused and adaptive leader with a strong ability to accomplish the goals I set out for myself and my venture. That, along with a supportive network of entrepreneurs, experts, change-makers, and friends is what makes the Propeller community and program exceptional. I never expected to see this much momentum build around our project in such a short amount of time, but indeed, it has.

Alex Becker
Founder, New Orleans Kids Partnership: NOLA GO! Youth Smartcard (Propeller'15)

The guidance and support from Propeller helped Young Creative Agency more than quadruple our earned revenue and craft a thorough long-term vision. Through the pro bono support network, we have a foundation of legal and accounting tools that will further carry us forward towards our goal of empowering all creative youth to compete for the digital media jobs of their city’s future.

Alberta Wright
Founder, Young Creative Agency (Propeller'15)

This program allowed me to focus on what was necessary to grow a program to an organization. I came into the Accelerator program very humble about what I do. I now realize the organization is important and necessary for the community. I now have a clear plan, a strong board of directors and direction for the future.

Dana Reed
Founder, Upturn Arts (Propeller'15)

Through a blend of their in-house team, my lead mentor, university interns and private business, I walked away from the Accelerator program with the tools to make this transition a successful one and a new found confidence that my venture will succeed. This program is designed to help ventures succeed. Almost every tool one needs to set up and get going is available free of charge through this program. I’m also looking forward to seeing the success of my cohorts in the 2015 Accelerator Program.

Wendy Billiot
Founder, Beyond the Bayou Excursions (Propeller'15)

During our time in the Accelerator program, all of our goals were reached and exceeded thanks to the focus and resources offered by Propeller.

David Young
Founder, Capstone (Propeller'15)

Propeller pushed me forward and kept me connected with other entrepreneurs going through the same challenges and struggles…The most valuable part of the program was my relationship with the other Fellows. I came away from our meetings feeling invigorated. If I walked into a meeting feeling drained, I would walk out feeling like I had new ideas again and new solutions and resources to solve problems I was facing.

Megan Webbeking
Founder, Nola Tilth (Propeller '13)

Propeller helped connect us with those individuals and organizations that best fit with our mission and goals.

Sarah Galos, Arwen Podesta & Sarah Mason
Co-Founders, The Well Integrative Medicine

With the help of Propeller, we are tackling childhood obesity. Propeller’s networks, administrative support, and mentoring helped us develop a business plan that expanded our SFA service to include other charter schools.

James Graham
Founder, Healthy School Food Collaborative (Propeller '13)

SVS has learned valuable lessons from Propeller’s Lean Startup training and peer learning and benefited from Propeller mentorship in order to startup a non-profit organization dedicated to international health and human rights.

Richard Witzig
Founder, Social Vaccine Strategies (Propeller '14)

Propeller has been our rock, our go-to place to help us with our host of development needs. But it also has been a home. We have been mentored, we have had support in key moments, and we have had a place to share our joys and frustrations. We have learned from the consultants, from the pro bono network, and from our peers. The Propeller staff has really nurtured us and our project, helped us believe in ourselves, and facilitated making our dreams come true.

Elizabeth Gard Townsend & Ron Gard
Co-Founders, Limited Times LLC (Propeller '14)

Propeller’s team has coached, trained, connected, strategized, pushed, and unequivocally believed in the leadership and vision of our nonprofit venture. This support has enabling us to tackle 10 months of innumerable roadblocks that our start up would have otherwise faced with limited capacity and experience. Instead, having Propeller’s well respected and networked staff and community advocates working on behalf of our social impact mission, has not only given us confidence to tackle the work on days when issues seemed insurmountable, but has enabled us to share our work with audiences it would have taken us years to reach on our own.

Bridget Kelly & Marisa Escudero
Co-Founder, Land Trust for Louisiana (Propeller '14)

Propeller has been a tremendous resource for Pelican Bomb. With the guidance of our expert consultant Kevin Wilkins and the generosity of the pro-bono network, Pelican Bomb has strengthened our non-profit activities and launched a new for-profit line of business, PB Activation.

Cameron Shaw and Amanda Brinkman
Founders, Pelican Bomb (‘14)

“The Propeller staff and pro-bono network were absolutely invaluable to the launch and success of Whereyart.net. The relationships built with both the staff as Propeller and the pro-bono network over the past ten months fostered a bond that will last well beyond the course of the fellowship.”

Catherine Todd
Co-Founder, Where Y'Art ('14)

“Both Propeller staff and consultants have helped FarmCity to go from a theoretical idea of wanting to help farmers start businesses to real instruments and pathways that provide handholds for aspiring farmers as they navigate the complex local food system to build their businesses.”

Sanjay Kharod
Founder, Farm City Initiative (NOFFN) ('14)

“Over 10 months Propeller has helped FitLot develop from an idea into an organization. With the Propeller staff, fellows, and consultants behind us, FitLot has a team of support that continuously coaches and strengthens everything we do.”

Adam Mejerson
Founder, FitLot ('14)

“Propeller has offered a consistent source of qualified support and an abundance of resources. This has enabled me to launch my dream for a flower farm and CSA.”

Megan Webbeking
Founder, Nola Tilth ('13)

“The high quality of technical assistance provided by Propeller staff and pro bono consultants launched The Guild on new trajectory that made our incorporation, business planning, and networking occur at a much higher level than would have been possible with our resources alone.”

John Hankins
Founder, New Orleans Master Crafts Guild ('13)

“Propeller has been a tremendous resource for JAC. With the support of our consultant and the pro bono network, we’ve been able to increase our impact from 30 clients to 450 clients in less than 12 months.”

Ameca Reali
Co-Founder, Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana ('13)

“Propeller’s unwavering support and guidance, as well as access to tools and resources, has supported us in being able to tackle obstacles, find solutions, and carry out our project vision.’

Emily Wolff
Founder, The Fine Arts & Welness Center ('13)

“Propeller helped us communicate the importance of our work and kept us accountable to our goals. The relationships with Propeller’s mentors and consultants were critical to increasing our capacity and laying the foundation for a healthy sustainable organization.”

Wesley Ware
Founder and Director, BreakOUT! ('13)

“Propeller connected VertiFarms with helpful mentors including our consultant, lawyers, and an accountant. We’ve also enjoyed working out of the Propeller Incubator where we can more easily access Propeller’s services.”

VertiFarms ('13)

“Propeller’s program helped us master our messaging and refine our pitch. All of a sudden we were getting the clients we were looking for, and the challenge became getting enough doulas to meet our need!”

Dana Keren
Co-Founder, Birthmark ('13)

“Propeller helped connect us with those individuals and organizations that best fit with our mission and goals.”

The Well Integrative Medicine ('13)

“Our fellowship with Propeller has been a priceless opportunity. Now we have a marketing and business consultant, a pro bono lawyer and accountant, and the incredible support and encouragement of Propeller’s staff.”

Marie Gould
Co-Founder, Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours ('13)

“With the help of Propeller, we are tackling childhood obesity. Propeller’s networks, administrative support, and mentoring helped us develop a business plan that expanded our SFA service to include other charter schools. We are now serving over 10,000 students.”

James Graham
Founder, Healthy School Food Collaborative ('13)

“Propeller provides an environment of support and professionalism that encourages growth, trying new things, asking the tough questions and doing what it takes to get the answers. Their dedicated staff’s ability to follow through has been invaluable, and they have helped us to overcome constructively the challenges we have faced as a new start-up. Propeller’s pro-bono network has a variety of diverse professionals and skills that have provided much-needed support at important times throughout our launch and expansion. The Accelerator has provided us with the legitimacy to talk with potential clients and supporters and given us the visibility we needed to be successful.”

Teddy Nathan
Co-Founder, Crescent City Connections ('14)

“One of the things I’ve found to be most challenging about launching a start up is not having a team. As a solo-founder, it was up to me to ‘make it happen’ and I missed the camaraderie that comes with a collective vision . . . until I joined Propeller. Working with my consultant, Eric, has been invaluable. He’s the thought-partner I needed to gain self-confidence, to strategize sales and program offerings, and to establish short and long-term plans. Working with the other Fellows and the Propeller staff has also been very thought-provoking. We have very different missions, yet share the aspiration to achieve wide-reaching social impact via a sustainable business/organization. I highly recommend anyone interested in launching a socially-focused venture in NOLA apply.”

Amy Vreeland
Founder and CEO, TrueSchool ('14)

“Propeller is a great organization. They are invested in the success of their Fellows. They provided Griffin Law Group with professionals to develop our financial/record keeping practices, logo, letterhead, marketing materials and website. Propeller opened their doors to Griffin Law Group allowing us office space in their centrally located office . . . Since we began the fellowship our revenue has increased to more than $8,000 per month. This has allowed up to hire and maintain employees. Propeller has also shared their numerous contacts with us allowing us to make future connections and help more children with mental and/or physical disabilities.”

Robyn Griffin
Founder and CEO, Griffin Law Group ('15)

“Hands down, Where Y’Art would not be where it is today without the support of the Propeller staff and it’s network of rockstar professionals . . . Our experience has been extraordinary and I would recommend any social entrepreneur starting a business to apply. I am inspired by their generosity and willingness to go beyond what is expected of them. I am proud to call them advisors, believers and friends.”

Catherine Todd
Co-Founder, Where Y'Art ('15)

“With the help of Propeller’s visionary and Executive Director, Andrea Chen, KIPP’s healthy food initiative is tackling childhood obesity, which we hope down the line, will reduce Louisiana’s overall obesity rate among adults. Equally important is the impact that healthy food will have on student academic achievement. Our school partners and organizations like Propeller, who focus on social innovation, are our teammates in this endeavor.”

James Graham
Director of Federal Programs and Grants, KIPP New Orleans

“The various workshops that the New Orleans entrepreneurial communities have provided have been very important. Propeller-hosted accounting workshops have helped us stay organized, and a Propeller-hosted public relations workshop helped us land a spot on national television after a cold call to a show called, ‘America’s Heartland.’”

Kevin Morgan-Rothschild
Co-Founder, VertiFarms ('13)

VEGGI’s involvement as one of Propeller’s Accelerator Fellows has been transformative – we’ve spent months working closely with consultants such as Nora Ellertsen from the Funding Seed to polish our pitch, strengthen our local and national networks, develop fundraising and financial strategic plans. We exceeded our fundraising targets to capitalize new farmers!”

Daniel Nguyen
Co-Founder, VEGGI Farmers Cooperative ('13)

“Propeller has provided networking opportunities for us with potential funders or partner organizations and workshops to teach us how to better communicate the importance of our work. This has meant increased capacity for our organization and allowed our youth membership to focus on their campaign organizing and leadership development work.”

Wesley Ware
Founder and Director, BreakOUT! ('13)

“PitchNOLA was a phenomenal platform for JAC to present the expungement issue to the public. The $5,000 1st place prize will increase our capacity to service more clients, thereby helping to break the cycle of recidivism and contribute to a thriving and healthy New Orleans.”

Ameca Reali
Co-Founder, Justice and Accountability Center of New Orleans ('13)

“Propeller has been an integral part of so many of our successes and we couldn’t have done it without them. We’ve been growing at such an amazing rate and it just doesn’t stop! It’s incredible to look back and think about where we were when we joined Propeller and how far we’ve come.”

Dana Keren
Co-Founder, Birthmark ('12)

“Propeller’s Fellow program has helped accelerate the progress of my venture, providing a lot of necessary first steps to turn an idea into my vision.”

William Stoudt
Executive Director, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans ('12)

“Our mentor, Dr. John Elstrott, studied our business model and stressed the fact that by decreasing our cost of goods and logistics cost, our margins could be sizeably healthier. Having kept in touch with my Propeller mentors, I still turn to them for advice or connections.”

Kyle Berner
Founder, Feelgoodz Flip Flops

“Propeller has been an invaluable partner in Echoing Green’s work with social entrepreneurs in New Orleans and it’s hard to imagine how to meet our goals without them.”

Heather McGrew
Vice President, Fellow and Alumni Programs at Echoing Green

“Propeller’s knowledge and resources were able to reduce my learning curve in the business world. I would never have been to execute a wholesale strategy or create a solidified business plan and marketing strategy without them.”

Tippy Tippens
Founder & Director, Matter ('12)

“Before Propeller, we attempted to grow through trial and error, but now we have a comprehensive business strategy and a better understanding of what it takes to become sustainable.”

Tamara and Thaddaeus Prosper
Co-Founders, Sheaux Fresh Sustainable Foods ('12)

“Propeller is wonderful because they are not only interested in supporting your business development, but they are are also passionate about supporting your mission.”

Andreas Hoffman
Founder, Greenlight New Orleans ('12)