Press Releases

JEDCO launches third annual entrepreneur challenge

(FAIRFIELD, La) – The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), in conjunction with First NBC Bank, is pleased to announce the launch of its third annual pitch competition for entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish. Held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event produced by The Idea Village, the 2015 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 Monday, March 23rd at Southport Hall 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 crowd will have an opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite entrepreneur, contributing to the overall scoring process of the competition. The winning pitch will receive $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind business services to help grow the company locally.

For the first time ever, entrepreneurs chosen to pitch in the 2015 JEDCO Challenge will also be eligible to participate in the 2015 Big Idea pitch competition. The Big Idea is the world’s largest crowd driven pitch event that closes out New Orleans Entrepreneur Week as local entrepreneurs vie for the public’s support to propel them into the final round of the competition, where $25,000 is on the table.

The application will be live on JEDCO’s website until December 12th, 2014.  Applicants will be narrowed down through a rigorous review process.  Finalists will be chosen in mid-January to provide two months for pitch preparation and business plan assistance.

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 $500,000 in revenue
  • Must have less than 5 employees
  • Must be a for-profit company

“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.”

“It is a priority of First NBC Bank to positively impact communities where we do business,” says Ashton J. Ryan Jr., President and CEO of First NBC Bank, the presenting sponsor of the 2015 JEDCO Challenge. “The entrepreneurial spirit has always played a major role in thriving economies and we see that infusion of new ideas and products taking hold throughout Jefferson Parish and the remainder of the River Region. Through the JEDCO Challenge, we are furthering our role within the entrepreneurial community and finding new ways to engage and assist companies as they journey toward growth and sustainability. This is a wonderful partnership and we are proud to be a part of this event.”

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 and the Slush Puppie/ICEE pouches, 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 second year, five finalists competed in front of an audience of 150 people. With sponsorships from seventeen local companies, the 2014 winner, Terry Ancar of PortaVision Medical, walked away from the competition with close to $80,000 in direct capital and in-kind services. Terry used the prize package to continue developing the NeoRay, an x-ray system used to enhance the care of premature babies.

The entrepreneur challenge will be held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) for the third year in a row. NOEW is the annual festival celebrating business, innovation and advanced thinking in New Orleans. The event engages a dynamic global network of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, non-profits, students and professionals to support growing companies and elevate entrepreneurial successes through eight days of discussion, debate, education, competition and celebration.

This event would not be possible without assistance from our presenting sponsor, First NBC Bank, and our Jefferson Parish businesses and organizations. JEDCO is currently accepting additional donations of in-kind services and capital to grow the JEDCO Challenge prize package. Click here for details.

The deadline to apply for The JEDCO Challenge is December 12, 2014. Visit JEDCO’s website to apply!


About JEDCO: The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) is an independent, yet complementary arm of Jefferson Parish government with the main objective of attracting, growing and creating new business in our area. JEDCO’s mission is to proactively influence the economy through the retention and creation of quality jobs, entrepreneurship and investment in Jefferson Parish.

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.