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 6th Annual Startup St. Bernard competition.  Startup St. Bernard seeks out dedicated, enthusiastic entrepreneurs who want to grow their business to the next level. Entrepreneurs were invited to apply for the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

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, Reactive Digital Systems, LLC, Clean Course Meals and Schmelly's dirt farm. 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 is open.  Three finalists will be selected to "pitch" their businesses to a panel of judges and a live audience.  The prize packages in previous years have each been valued at more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services, and this year's prize package is still being developed and will be announced soon. All finalists will receive a cash prize of at least $5,000. The Startup St. Bernard winner will receive the grand prize package including 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.

To qualify, entrants must be in business for five years or less or be an existing business creating a new division or entity, have yearly revenue under $1,000,000, and have five employees or less. Past Startup St. Bernard cash winners and nonprofit organizations are not eligible to enter.

how it works

  1. Entrepreneurs Submitted Business Plans

    Entrepreneurs meeting entry criteria must submit a business plan at by 11:59 p.m. CST on February 24, 2020. 

  2. Committee Selected Finalists

    An independent scoring committee will score the entries strictly off business plan submission and an entry questionnaire. The three highest-scoring businesses will be selected to “pitch” their business at the Startup St. Bernard entrepreneur challenge.

  3. Finalists Pitch for a chance to win the Startup St. Bernard prize package.

    The three finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges and a live audience on March 23, 2020 at the Arlene Meraux River Observation Center at Docville Farm (5128 E. St. Bernard Highway, Violet, LA.) for a chance to win a grand prize package of cash and in-kind services.  All finalists will receive at least $5,000 in seed money to grow their business

Everyone is invited to attend the Startup St. Bernard pitch challenge and cheer the entrepreneurs on! The live audience will be allowed to cast a vote for their favorite finalist to win the "People's Choice" vote.  In the event of a tie, this will determine the winner.

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 Prize Package is still being developed and is not a guaranteed value. The 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 past Prize Packages have been 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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