Today, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), The Idea Village announces that applications for its 2014 Water Challenge are now open. Going into its fourth year, this nationally award-winning program aims to identify and support entrepreneurial solutions that apply innovative approaches to how we live with water in Southeast Louisiana. This year’s focus areas include flooding, water quality, and coastal restoration and qualified entrepreneurs can apply at www.WaterChallenge2014.org until 11:59pm CT on October 11, 2013. An information session will be hosted at The Idea Village on Thursday, September 26th from 8:30am until 9:30am.

“Each year, The Idea Village hosts Strategic Challenges, such as the Water Challenge, in an effort to elevate emerging local industries, while strengthening partnerships in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Tim Williamson, Co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village. “Together with GNOF, we’ve assembled a powerful team of industry experts and are now looking for the best ideas in water management to support through this initiative.”

“Louisiana has a competitive advantage when it comes to harnessing water management opportunities and entrepreneurs play a key role in developing scalable solutions,” said Marco F. Cocito-Monoc, Ph. D, GNOF’s Director for Regional Initiatives. “We believe that the Water Challenge is a powerful vehicle for identifying such innovators.”

This year’s Water Challenge will be divided into two phases. During phase one, October 23rd through December 11th, qualified entrepreneurs will receive targeted business development resources, including access to strategy sessions, mentors, IDEAinstitute sessions, and peer networking. A select group of finalists will then be invited to transition into phase two. Phase two will take place from January through March 24th and finalists will receive additional one-on-one business support and professional services in preparation for the $50,000 Water Challenge pitch competition during the 6th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), the culmination of The Idea Village annual Entrepreneur Season, on March 24, 2014.

Entrepreneurs are the right fit for this program if they have an innovative technology and/or service that provides a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable means of dealing with Louisiana’s water challenges – and meet the following criteria:

  • For-profit business venture or idea that addresses flooding, water quality, and/or coastal restoration.
  • Located in Southeast Louisiana (eligible parishes include: Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Lafourche, Terrebonne, Tangipahoa, or Washington).
  • Generates less than $1M in annual revenue.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of water sector.
  • Have the ability to participate in program events between October 2013 and March 24, 2014.

Last year’s Water Challenge winner, Webster Pierce of Pierce Industries, has invented, produced, and tested a patented modular shoreline protection and sediment retention system known as the Wave Suppression Sediment Collection (WSSC) System – or, The Wave Robber.

“From access to unbelievable networks to strategic business consulting, it was as if I had an entire management team behind me during the Water Challenge program,” said Pierce.

2012 Water Challenge winner, Dr. Sarah Mack of Tierra Resources, is a leader in the research, development, and monetization of blue carbon contained in coastal wetland ecosystems. Her pioneering work is critical to bringing wetland offsets to carbon markets and their methodology will monetize the value of Louisiana wetlands and enable funding for their restoration.

The inaugural Water Challenge winner, David Culpepper of NanoFex, has developed a product that decontaminates groundwater polluted by industrial solvents using natural, regional by-products.

To learn more about The Idea Village and the 2014 Water Challenge, please visit www.ideavillage.org.

About The Idea Village
Founded in 2000, The Idea Village is an independent, 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to identify, support, and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans. The Idea Village is a globally recognized leader of entrepreneurship by catalyzing an entrepreneurial ecosystem that has provided direct support to over 3,000 New Orleans entrepreneurs by engaging over 2,400 professionals to allocate 72,295 consulting hours and $3.45 million in seed capital. Collectively, this portfolio generates over $100 million in annual revenue and has created over 2,000 jobs for our community. www.ideavillage.org

About the Greater New Orleans Foundation
The Greater New Orleans Foundation is one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region. Every day, the Foundation joins other foundations, non-profit organizations, community leaders, and government officials to address the needs of the community and build consensus for solutions. Together with its family of donors, the Foundation has invested over $100 million in our region since it opened its doors over 25 years ago to respond to community needs. www.gnof.org

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