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. 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.

Entrepreneurs were invited to apply for the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.  The top 5 finalists were chosen to compete for a prize package valued at over $100,000+ in cash and in-kind services.


2018 Startup St. Bernard Finalists

Clean Course Meals is a community-based health and nutrition company committed to providing access to wholesome, nourishing meals while educating the community on the basis of living a healthier lifestyle.


Neutral Ground is a digital wood shop that specializes in using rapid prototyping technology to make affordable custom fabrication. Neutral Ground sells original artwork and home goods as well as partner with other businesses on their product, packaging, and signage needs.


 Full Count Athletic Facility is a 10,000 square/ft. training facility that offers a central, indoor, climate controlled location for guests to learn and practice their baseball and softball skills.  The facility includes batting cages, pitching lanes and cages, skills area and equipment for speed and agility, and strength and conditioning training. In addition, Full Count offers specialized group coaching clinics, team skills training and one-on-one skills training.


Neptune’s Garden is a year round hydroponic farm providing the highest quality and freshest produce that you can purchase.  Neptune’s Gardens produce is hydroponically grown indoors in a controlled environment providing ideal conditions for the growth of beautiful produce completely without the use of pesticides. This enables the business to harvest the product and deliver it to the customer while it’s still alive maximizing the taste, nutrition and value.


Pontchartrain Mushrooms is an urban farm in the greater New Orleans area committed to growing high quality, gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. We strive to provide a fresh, locally grown, nutritious food source, and use our knowledge of mycology to work towards a cleaner future for our community.


The 4th Annual Startup St. Bernard competition is on Monday, March 19, 2018 at the Arlene Meraux River Observation Center at Docville Farm (5128 E. St. Bernard Highway, Violet, LA.) The event is free and open to the public. Anyone interested is asked to register.


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.

In the past, in-kind donations have included services ranging from legal and accounting to marketing and public relations.

Judges scored 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

enter the challenge