CORE Wins 6th Annual Startup St. Bernard

6th Annual Competition Presented by Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation

CORE: Louisiana Counseling & Recovery Center, LLC (CORE) took home the grand prize at the 6th annual Startup St. Bernard presented by the Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. The a substance abuse and mental health practice was selected by a panel of judges out of a pool of three finalists who pitched their businesses during a livestream event today. The pitch competition can be viewed on the Startup St. Bernard Facebook page, and it will be broadcast on the Government Access Channel on Cox channel 76 or on U-verse channel 99. 

“Congratulations to CORE for winning what was a very tough competition,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation, which founded Startup St. Bernard and is a presenting sponsor. “Demonstrated by the quality of the finalists and the number of people who ‘tuned-in’, it’s clear that Startup St. Bernard continues to be a marquee economic development program. I look forward to seeing CORE thrive here in St. Bernard.”

CORE is a substance abuse and mental health practice in St. Bernard Parish. CORE offers specialized preventative, diagnostic, rehabilitative, and recovery-oriented services including counseling, assessments, anger management groups, domestic violence intervention programs, and psychoeducational classes. CORE’s licensed clinicians work diligently to provide accessible, reliable, and effective services, while promoting a shift towards the normalization of mental health and recovery services in the St. Bernard Parish community. 

“I am so excited, and I’m going to put everything into growing our business and impacting our community,” said Nicole Goldin of CORE.

Startup St. Bernard was open to any business under five-years old that agreed to locate their base of operations in St. Bernard Parish and participate in its entrepreneurial ecosystem. An independent scoring committee from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University chose the three finalists from a pool of entries based on the quality of their business plans.The winner was selected by the following panel of judges:

  • Emily Egan, Tulane University’s Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Kimberley Singletary, Biz New Orleans
  • Allen Square, Square Button
  • Jason Waggenspack, The Ranch Film Studios
  • Desiree Young, VentureWalk Partners
  • Tom Gregory, the multiple Emmy-winning host, writer, producer, and reporter, was once again the emcee of the event.

The Meraux Foundation is the presenting sponsor, and other cash sponsors include Park Investments, Associated Terminals, Valero Meraux Refinery, Palms Truck Stop, Chalmette Refining, Sidney Torres, III, Sherman Strategies, St. Bernard Tourism Commission, Southern Insurance Agency, The Ranch Studios, St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation, Frederick J. Sigur, Jr., Palmisano Contractors, BERG Services, Reactive Digital Systems, Sheriff Jimmy Pohlman, State Senator Sharon Hewitt, Deborah Keller, Terry, and Daryl Tedesco, and Schmelly’s Dirt Farm.

In-kind sponsors include Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company, Sherman Strategies, LLC, Ragusa Consulting, Bernard Franks- A Corporation of Certified Accountants, Biz New Orleans, evanSchmidt Design, Shine Productions, Park Investments, Outfront Media, Meraux Foundation, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, Crave, and Zack Smith Photography.

Previous Startup St. Bernard winners have been 40 Arpent Brewing Company (2015); Christie’s Dreams Seafood (2016); Reactive Digital Systems, LLC (2017), which has seen sales revenue surpass $500,000 last year with no signs of slowing; Clean Course Meals (2018), which opened a storefront in Chalmette; and Schmelly’s Dirt Farm (2019), which is close to opening a new composting facility in the parish. Many of the competition’s finalists have gone on to see success, too, including Coast Roast, The Coffee House, Girls Gone Vegan, and Kayak-iti-Yat, among others.

The prize package is made up of nearly $60,000 in cash and nearly $40,000 in in-kind professional services. Each of the two runners up will receive $5,000, and the remainder of the cash prize and all the professional services will be awarded to the grand prize winner selected by the judges.