The 11th Annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

The 11th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week attracted about 3,500 attendees throughout the weeklong programming March 24-29 and awarded $300,000 in funds and services to local entrepreneurs. See the full list of winning companies from pitch competitions throughout the week, as well as other impact from the annual series centered on business, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in the Greater New Orleans region.

  • PHOTOS: Find photos from this year’s event at this link.
  • CAPTIONS: (Marco Nelson and Lydia Winkler, co-founders of RentCheck, won $50,000 during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s IDEApitch competition on Friday, March 29.) (Marcus Lemonis, the host of CNBC’s “The Pitch” and “The Profit” TV shows, delivers a keynote speech during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.)

11th Annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week Awards $300,000 to Entrepreneurs, Attracts 3,500 Attendees

Weeklong innovation event has featured nearly 800 local entrepreneurs over a decade


NEW ORLEANS (April 15, 2019)—More than 3,500 people from 23 states and three countries attended programming during the 11th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The weeklong series of events centered on business, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, co-produced by the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and The Idea Village was held March 24-29 at the Ace Hotel and locations around the city.

Through the combined efforts of the organizers and partner organizations, NOEW awarded $300,000 in funds and services to local entrepreneurs during pitch competitions throughout the week. The funds and services are meant to help boost startup companies in the Greater New Orleans region.

“For more than a decade, NOEW continues to have an incredible impact on our region not only in terms of direct outcomes for startup companies, but also for connecting the local community, maintaining an open front door to the startup ecosystem, and attracting regional and national attention to business in New Orleans,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village.

For a second year, NOEW partnered with other companies and nonprofits to host events in neighborhoods across the city, known as “NOEW In Your Neighborhood.” This year, 30 partners hosted 19 citywide events in eight neighborhoods: the Biomedical District, Central Business District, Central City, Irish Channel, Lakeview, Meraux, Seventh Ward and the Warehouse District.

This year was also the first time the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University joined as a co-producer of the event. More than 30 Tulane professors, administrators and alumni presented during NOEW. Tulane also hosted its 19th annual Tulane Business Model Competition in its newly opened Stewart Center for Executive Education located in the CBD.

“Over the last several years, the Freeman School has re-committed itself to serving the New Orleans business community through a wide range of programs and initiatives,” said Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon. “Partnering with The Idea Village to co-produce NOEW continues this effort to build connections and bring Freeman expertise to entrepreneurs across the region.”

In its 11 years, NOEW partners have awarded more than $4.6M in cash and prizes to entrepreneurs, and nearly 800 entrepreneurs have been featured as part of the event. This year’s NOEW Summit conference featured more than 120 speakers, including Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s “The Pitch” and “The Profit” TV shows; Jim Clark and Jim Barksdale, co-founder and former CEO of Netscape Communications; and Shelly Porges of the Billion Dollar Fund for Women.


NOEW 2019 Pitch Competition Winners & Highlights Include:

  • RentCheck and the University of Alabama won the “IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge” hosted by Loyola University New Orleans.
  • Junior Achievement of New Orleans, in partnership with the Brees Dream Foundation and The Idea Village, hosted the “Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge,” which ended in a tie between Baby Be-Gan from Baton Rouge and Glamour On The Go from Lafayette. Each team walked away with $7,500 in scholarships and a $3,750 prize for their high schools.
  • Cocktail & Sons won $7,500 in cash plus additional in-kind services from the Junior League of New Orleans during its “Woman Entrepreneur Fellowship.”
  • The Love Label won $500 cash and services valued at $1,900 from Launch NOLA during its pitch competition highlighting businesses along the Claiborne Corridor.
  • Urban League of Louisiana named Southern Comfort Real Estate Services the winner of the $10,000 prize at its annual “Women-In-Business Challenge.”
  • New Orleans Business Alliance hosted its second “New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge,” and MedAux was selected as the winner. They will receive $36,000 in cash, as well as in-kind services.
  • The “Tulane Business Model Competition” narrowed down its finalists to KnoNap (George Washington University), RentCheck (Tulane University), and Speeko (University of Iowa). The final pitch was held on April 8th, and RentCheck was selected as the winner of the $35,000 grand prize.
  • Schmelly’s Dirt Farm took home the grand prize of over $80,000 in funds and services at the Startup St. Bernard pitch competition.
  • TrayAway, RentCheck and SampleChain participated in The Idea Village’s annual “IDEApitch Competition” to close out NOEW. RentCheck received the first place and access to a $50,000 investment from The Idea Village thanks to the
    • support of Jim Coulter and Patrick Comer.




    About New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

    New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co., is the leading platform for celebrating business, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in New Orleans. Produced by the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and The Idea Village, NOEW elevates entrepreneurship through discussion, debate, education, competition and celebration. For more information: www.NOEW.org.

    Once again New Orleans Entrepreneur week was packed with great information for the small business professional and those aiming to start a business. The free sessions are golden nuggets especially for those of us who can not afford to pay to attend similar sessions that are hosted in the city. I attended with a couple of ladies I met last year. New Orleans Small Businesses benefit from the wealth of information, free services, opportunities and exposure that the NOEW brings each year. And they host greasy parties lol.

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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