Press Releases

JEDCO launches second annual entrepreneur challenge

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), in conjunction with First NBC Bank,  is pleased to announce the launch of its second annual pitch competition for entrepreneurs living and working in Jefferson Parish. Held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event spearheaded by The Idea Village, the JEDCO Challenge will elevate opportunities for early-stage companies in the area.

JEDCO Challenge brought to you by First NBC BankThe competition will be held on Tuesday, March 25th in front of a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders and an audience of their peers. Finalists will be judged on a seven-minute pitch and a business plan, which must be submitted in advance of the competition. The winning pitch will receive a business-boosting prize package of in-kind business services and direct capital to be used to help grow the company in Jefferson Parish. To date, the prize package totals nearly $20,000 with plans to continue growing until the competition.

JEDCO is looking for entrepreneurs with unique ideas that have the high potential to grow and positively impact Jefferson Parish. Entrepreneurs are urged to apply for the challenge on JEDCO’s website. They must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Must live, work or have a strong presence in Jefferson Parish
  • Must generate less than $1 million in revenue
  • Must have 10 or fewer employees
  • Must be a for-profit company

The application will be live on JEDCO’s website for one month, starting January 7th. Applicants will be narrowed down through a rigorous review process. Finalists will be chosen at the end of February with one month for pitch preparation and business plan assistance.

“Entrepreneurs are the future of Jefferson Parish and we will do everything we can to best assist them as they grow,” says JEDCO Executive Director Jerry Bologna. “This entrepreneur challenge provides us with a platform to better connect with the future leaders of our Jefferson Parish business community. It is exciting for JEDCO to play a role in helping these companies find success in Jefferson Parish and we look forward to providing a continuous support system in the future.”

In 2013, the pitch competition was born out of a challenge posed by Jefferson Parish start-up, Cordina New Orleans Cocktails. The company, which creates on-the-go adult drinks, asked JEDCO to host a pitch competition for local entrepreneurs. Not only did the event showcase the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Jefferson Parish, but it also connected our up-and-comers with today’s business leaders through direct capital, business resources and mentorship.

In the competition’s first year, four finalists competed in front of an audience of more than 115 people. With sponsorships from more than a dozen local companies, the 2013 winner, Billy Bosch of Be Well Nutrition, Inc., walked away from the competition with more than $50,000 in direct capital and in-kind services. Billy used the prize package to help launch two flavors of the company’s new health drink, ICONIC.

The entrepreneur challenge will be held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week for the second year in a row. The culmination of the Idea Village’s annual Entrepreneur Season, NOEW has become the premiere showcase event for the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem. NOEW 2014 is expected to engage 5,000+ of the nation’s most innovative business leaders, financiers, entrepreneurs and students.

This event would not be possible without assistance from our Jefferson Parish businesses and organizations. We would like to thank the following for their sponsorship of the event: First NBC Bank, Sandler Training, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Business Innovation Center at Churchill, Baker Donelson, Compucast Web Design, Cordina New Orleans Cocktails, Cox Communications, LaPorte,  LSBDC GNOR, Gillis, Ellis & Baker,  MMI Culinary Services, Postlethwaite & Netterville,  Gambel Communications, Ardyn Thriffily and Associates, and A Journey to Success.

We are still accepting additional donations of in-kind services and money to grow the JEDCO Challenge prize package. Click here for details.

Visit JEDCO’s website for additional information.


About First NBC Bank: First NBC Bank received a charter to begin operation from the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions in May 2006. Through overwhelming support from the local community, the Bank’s initial capital footings exceeded $60 million, which set a record for the largest initial capital raised by a Louisiana chartered institution. There are 31 banking offices on the South and North Shores of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area. First NBC Bank has been selected as one of the Best Places to Work six times in a row New Orleans CityBusiness.

The bank’s mission is to deliver world-class service through developing long-term relationships with clients while providing a great place to work for its employees and demonstrating outstanding corporate citizenship within its communities, resulting in exceptional returns for its shareholders.