StartUp St. Bernard Entrepreneur Challenge


Startup St. Bernard


The Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation are partnering to support innovation and growth in St. Bernard Parish by presenting the Fourth Annual Startup St. Bernard competition.  Startup St. Bernard seeks out dedicated, enthusiastic entrepreneurs who want to grow their business to the next level. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March 2018.

The “Shark Tank” style public event is open to any business that agrees to locate their base of operations to St. Bernard Parish, help improve St. Bernard Parish, and become part of the St. Bernard Parish entrepreneur ecosystem. Previous winners have included 40 Arpent Brewing Company, Christie’s Dreams Seafood, and Reactive Digital Systems, LLC. The Parish is a land of opportunity for businesses, especially startups. While just minutes away from downtown New Orleans, land, labor, and costs of doing business are low — and the business support network is robust.

The entry period opens on December 1, 2017 and will close just after 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on February 1, 2018. The prize package includes a mix of cash and in-kind donations. In the past, in-kind donations have included services ranging from legal and accounting to marketing and public relations.



1.    Locate their base of operations to St. Bernard Parish for at least 2 years

2.    Improve St. Bernard Parish

3.    Become part of the St. Bernard Parish entrepreneur ecosystem


To qualify, entrants must be in business for 5 years or less or be an existing business creating a new division or entity; have yearly revenue under $1,000,000; have 5 employees or less, and cannot be a non-profit.


Judges will also score entries based on how the startups will improve St. Bernard by creating jobs, investing capital into the parish, improving the image of St. Bernard, and/or contributing to the growth of the core Startup St. Bernard sectors: creative digital media, cultural arts/cultural economy, arts/entertainment, advanced manufacturing/value-added manufacturing, logistics, and the seafood industry.


$100,000+ Prize Package




The Startup St. Bernard Prize Package includes both cash and in-kind donations.

2017 donors include the Meraux Foundation, Park Investments, Ltd., St. Bernard Parish Government, Sidney Torres, III, Mrs. Rita Gue, Mr. Floyd Gue, Nunez Community College Foundation, Taurus Properties, Inc., Southern Insurance Agency, LLC, Palmisano Contractors, Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann, Senator Sharon Hewitt, Senator JP Morrell, 40 Arpent Brewing Company, Christie’s Dreams Seafood, and  Coast Roast.

2017 supporting partners and in-kind service providers include the Meraux Foundation, Park Investments, 40 Arpent Brewing Company, Christie’s Dreams Seafood, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company, evanSchmidt Design, LLC, Baker Donelson, Sherman Strategies, Ragusa Consulting, John Brian White, Esq., InHouse Consultants, Inc., AdamsIP, LLC., St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, Biz New Orleans, Shine Productions, Outfront Media, Ditto’s Printing and Copy Center, Global Staffing Solutions, Bill Haines, Crave, and Grow St. Bernard.

The 2018 prize package details will be released following the announcement of the five finalists in March 2018.


how it works

  1. Submit Your Business Plan online

    Entrepreneurs must complete the entry form and submit a business plan at by midnight (Central Time,) on February 1, 2018. For recommendations on business plan submission, please see here.

  2. Judges Select Finalists

    A panel of judges with business experience will review the submissions and score the entries. The five highest-scoring businesses will be selected to “pitch” the judges at the Startup St. Bernard entrepreneur challenge.

  3. Finalists Pitch for a chance to win a prize package valued at over $100,000.

    Five finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges in a TED Talks-style presentation format. The live public event will take place at the Arlene Meraux River Observation Center during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March 2018.

Everyone is invited to attend the Startup St. Bernard pitch challenge and cheer the entrepreneurs on! Register now at

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) is the annual festival celebrating business, innovation, and advanced thinking in New Orleans. Produced by The Idea Village, NOEW engages a dynamic global network of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, nonprofits, students, and professionals to support growing companies and elevate entrepreneurial success through eight days of discussion, debate, education, competition and celebration.

*The $100,000 Prize Package is not an entirely cash package. The Prize Package includes in-kind products and services that have been assigned a fair market value. The total value of the Prize Package is estimated to be valued at $100,000. Startup St. Bernard, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation, the Meraux Foundation, its agents, and affiliates, and the organizers and partners of Startup St. Bernard are not responsible for the commitments made by those who donated cash, products, and services to the prize package.

Sponsors + Partners

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