Startup St. Bernard $110K Entrepreneur Challenge Announced

St. Bernard Parish, La. (December 11, 2014) — The Meraux Foundation announced Startup St. Bernard this week, an initiative seeking out innovative entrepreneurs 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 businesses to a panel of judges in St. Bernard Parish during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 23, 2015. Entries are due January 31, 2015.

“We created Startup St. Bernard to showcase the Parish as an ideal place for businesses, especially startups,” said Rita Gue, president of the Meraux Foundation, which is presenting the contest. “We issued a call to smart, motivated entrepreneurs in St. Bernard, across the state, and around the country. This is a unique way to approach economic development and a new way to promote the Parish.”

The Startup St. Bernard challenge is open to any business that will locate its base of operations to St. Bernard Parish for at least one year, help improve St. Bernard Parish, and become part of the St. Bernard Parish entrepreneur ecosystem.

The prize package includes office space, legal services, marketing, accounting, $42,500 in cash, and virtually everything else a business needs to help it get off the ground.

Businesses interested in competing must complete the entry form and submit a business plan at by January 31. A panel of experienced judges 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. The live public event will take place at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm at the Arlene Meraux River Observation Center.

The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is invited to attend and support the entrepreneurs. Please register for the event at

Startup St. Bernard is being held in conjunction with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), 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. This year, the event will take place March 20-27, 2015 and 10,000+ are expected to be engaged through over 75 different events.

The Meraux Foundation is joined by a deep bench of partners working together to make Startup St. Bernard possible, including The Idea Village™, St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation, The Entrepreneur Center at Nunez Community College, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership St. Bernard.

Donors include the Meraux Foundation, Park Investments, Ltd., Mr. Wayne Landry, Palms Truck Stop, Sidney Torres, III, Mrs. Rita Gue, Mr. Floyd Gue, Palmisano Contactors, LLC, BPW, St. Bernard Tourism Commission, Nunez Community College Foundation, Mr. Daryl and Mrs. Terry Tedesco, Ms. Adele Faust, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company, John Brian White, Esq., InHouse Consultants, Inc., AdamsIP, LLC, Sherman Strategies, LLC, Ragusa Consulting, evanSchmidt Design, LLC, Person Huff CPA Group, Sidewise, Pel Hughes, Shine Productions, Outfront Media, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, Arc, Crave, Mr. Bill Haines, Printers Wholesale Group, Arabi Food Store.

Details can be found at

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 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.

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