WE CAN DO THIS!
The nationally award-winning Water Challenge (@SELAwater) is a collaborative initiative of The Idea Village and the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) that aims to identify and support entrepreneurial solutions that apply innovative approaches to how we live with water.
In Southeast Louisiana, water dominates life as both an asset and a threat. From coastal land loss to abundant seafood, from flood to drought, water is a major source of both spending and revenue. Because many of our regional issues are similar to those faced by other countries, the Water Challenge is a powerful vehicle for discovering and nurturing innovators whose solutions may be of global significance.
During the 2013 Entrepreneur Season, 29 entrepreneurs with innovative ideas were invited to participate in the 3rd annual Water Challenge cohort (pictured above)! Four finalists representing Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, and Lafourche Parishes, who offer pioneering approaches to coastal erosion and restoration, water quality, and stormwater management, were selected at the conclusion of an intensive, six-week educational program to compete in a pitch competition day during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Webster Pierce of Pierce Industries won, receiving $50,000 in seed funding, courtesy of GNOF.
MEET THE 2013 WATER CHALLENGE FINALISTS:
ENTREPRENEURS: Alex Skaggs and Brady Skaggs
ABS Technologies supplies accurate water-related data to universities, government agencies, and private corporations through an easy-access, real-time application available on smart phones and computers. Accurate data is necessary to effectively manage the coast for a variety of needs, such as coastal restoration, oyster harvesting, and water quality monitoring.
ENTREPRENEURS: Bari Blanks and Kerin Leche
EMS Green holds the manufacturing and distributing rights to DELTALOK, a patented product that protects and restores the areas where land meets water in our marshlands and navigable waterways. Shoreline erosion is not only causing a loss of habitat, but also the degradation of our natural buffer zone during significant weather events. The Louisiana swamps and marshlands need to be protected and restored and EMS Green offers an economical solution.
Louisiana Water Works, L3C
ENTREPRENEURS:Jennifer Roberts and Miriam Belblidia
Water Works helps reduce flood damage and stormwater pollution using education, research, and software tools, which help assess drainage system upgrades, and empower citizens to identify flood prone areas and report stormwater pollution sources.
Pierce Industries - 2013 Water Challenge Winner
ENTREPRENEUR: Webster Pierce
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.
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.