$110,000 Startup St. Bernard Competition Entry Period Opens

Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Parish Economic Development Foundation partner to support business growth

St. Bernard Parish, LA (Decemberr 2, 2016) — The entry period opened today for the third annual Startup St. Bernard Competition presented by the Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. Startup St. Bernard is seeking out innovative entrepreneurs willing to give 110 percent to compete for a prize package worth $110,000 designed to help propel their business to the next level. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for a chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on Monday, March 20, 2017 at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm in St. Bernard Parish.

“We have seen how Startup St. Bernard has helped the past winners grow their businesses here in our community, and we are excited to extend that opportunity to another business,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation. “This competition is all about telling the world that St. Bernard Parish is a great place to do business, and it’s only getting better!”

Startup St. Bernard is looking for innovative entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in St. Bernard Parish. 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 challenge is being organized by the Meraux Foundation, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation, and The Idea Village™.

“Startup St. Bernard provides a launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs to grow their business in St. Bernard Parish,” said Andrew Jacques, the executive director of St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. “The competition also generates tangible, economic development projects like we have seen from our previous winners, 40 Arpent Brewing Company and Christie’s Dreams Seafood.”

The prize package includes a mix of cash and in-kind donations, including legal, accounting, and marketing services. Details of the prize package will be announced at a later date.

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

1.            Locate 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 an existing business creating a new division or entity, must have yearly revenue under $1,000,000, must have 5 employees or less, and cannot be a non-profit.

Judges will also score entries based on how the startups improve St. Bernard by creating jobs, investing capital into the parish, improving the image of St. Bernard, and/or contributing to growing 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 www.startupstbernard.com by midnight on January 14, 2017.

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 $110,000 Prize Package

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 on March 20, 2017.


Everyone is invited to attend the Startup St. Bernard pitch challenge and cheer on the entrepreneurs. Register now at http://NOEW.org.

About the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation
The Meraux Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to benefit the community of St. Bernard Parish by leveraging its landholdings. Today, the Foundation’s board of directors is presided over by Arlene’s niece, Rita Gue, and consists of members Floyd Gue, Bill Haines, Chris Haines, and Sidney Torres, III. Guided by Arlene’s vision, the Board is implementing an innovative strategy to create lasting change and build a better St. Bernard. The Meraux Foundation is a founding sponsor and organizer of Startup St. Bernard.

About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation
St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote economic development and commercial growth of St. Bernard Parish and to lead the initiation of partnering organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for St. Bernard Parish citizens. To achieve this mission, SBEDF primarily engages in business attraction, retention, and expansion. Additionally, workforce development and policy development are pursued as key initiatives to drive economic development activities. The Board of Directors consists of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization. SBEDF’s work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, Cox Communications, Chalmette Refining, and Valero Energy at the Champion Level and the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level, and Meyer Engineers and Palmisano Group at the Community Leaders level.

About New Orleans Entrepreneur Week
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.

Disclaimer: The $110,000 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 $110,000. 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.