$ 50,000 Reward

Going into its third year, the Water Challenge is expanding its reach in an effort to solidify our region’s position as a business leader in the water industry.

Water Challenge Qualification Criteria

The Water Challenge is a three-phase program. Applicants who meet the following criteria will be invited to participate in an educational program from October through December.
• Entrepreneur has an idea or business that addresses a specific water problem relevant to Southeast Louisiana
• Entrepreneur has identified an idea that can be commercialized
• The proposed solution/ idea is exportable and scalable
• Entrepreneur and venture are taking an innovative approach to solving this problem
• Entrepreneur is committed to participating in the educational and consulting program
• Entrepreneur and business are based in the Coastal 5 plus 1 region, which includes the following parishes:
Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, & Terrebonne
• The business is generating less than $1 million in annual revenue and has fewer than 10 full time employees

In December, select entrepreneurs from the educational program who have identified scalable, for-profit business models and demonstrated the passion to take their start-ups to the next level will transition into a three-month accelerator program managed by The Idea Village Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs). The EIRs, seasoned entrepreneurs, will provide strategic consulting to help entrepreneurs refine their strategy, organize their business, and develop their pitch for funding. Finalists will have the opportunity to pitch for a $50,000 grant, courtesy of GNOF, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 16-22, 2013.

Dr. Sarah K. Mack of Tierra Resources won the 2012 Water Challenge. Tierra Resources is a nationally recognized innovator and quality leader in the research, development, and monetization of blue carbon contained in coastal wetland ecosystems, such as estuaries, mangroves, and salt marshes. Their 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.