Startup St. Bernard accepting entries for annual business pitch competition

Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation partner to support innovation, growth in the Parish

The entry period is open for the fourth annual Startup St. Bernard competition, presented by the Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. 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 entry period will close at midnight (Central Time) on February 1, 2018.

“We are excited to present the fourth year of Startup St. Bernard,” said Rita Gue, president of the Meraux Foundation. “This competition gets better every year, and it’s thrilling to meet the innovative, passionate entrepreneurs who enter.”

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.

“St. Bernard is a land of opportunity for businesses, especially startups,” said Andrew Jacques, the executive director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. “We’re minutes away from downtown New Orleans but the land, labor, and costs of doing business here are lower. Plus, the support network for businesses is strong – we’re a community that cares about each other.”

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.

The Startup St. Bernard Challenge is open to any startup business that will:

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


1. Submit Your Business Plan Online

Entrepreneurs must complete the entry form and submit a business plan at by midnight on February 1, 2018.

2. Judges Select Finalists

A panel of judges with business expertise 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

Finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges in a TED Talks-style presentation format. The live public event will take place during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March 2018.