Press Releases

2015 JEDCO Challenge Finalists Announced

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and First NBC Bank, in partnership with the Jefferson Chamber, are pleased to introduce the five companies scheduled to compete in the third annual Jefferson Parish-based pitch competition during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by IBERIABANK, which is produced by The Idea Village.

JEDCO received over 30 applications for the JEDCO Challenge, powered by First NBC Bank, from entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish. Through a rigorous review process, a selection committee of business leaders chose five companies to participate in the live pitch event. The JEDCO Challenge features a diverse group of companies with backgrounds in a variety of industries in Jefferson Parish.


AxoSim Technologies

Pioneered by J. Lowry Curley, PhD and Michael J. Moore, PhD, AxoSim’s advanced “nerve-on-a-chip” technology can determine the level of neurological safety and effectiveness of a new drug early in its development. The company developed a 3D cell-based model that acts and functions like a nerve, which serves as an alternative to costly animal testing or less effective cell models.  This “nerve-on-a-chip”  gives pharmaceutical companies access to high content data faster, earlier and at a lower cost than currently possible, which increases the chance of clinical success and prevents harmful drugs from reaching vulnerable patients. AxoSim’s ultimate goal is to accelerate medical breakthroughs and improve people’s health. Learn more on AxoSim’s website:

Cook Me Somethin’ Mister

The Jambalaya Girl’s locally owned family business, Cook Me Somethin’ Mister, is bringing an authentic taste of New Orleans to the world, starting with the company’s easy to prepare jambalaya and gumbo made with the finest ingredients in New Orleans. Drawing from her upbringing in the New Orleans cooking scene and her creation of a nationwide tailgating fundraiser following Hurricane Katrina, owner Kristen Preau, (Jambalaya Girl) created Cook Me Somethin’ Mister from her Dad’s jambalaya recipe. All products are packaged for retail and foodservice with more recipes to come.  Distribution is rapidly growing nationally and internationally, as products are currently available in more than 100 grocery stores, 10 Sam’s Clubs, 10 major food service distributors and can be ordered online and on Amazon Prime. Learn more on Cook Me Somethin’ Mister’s website:

InnoGenomics Technologies

InnoGenomics Technologies is dedicated to the development of innovative genetic testing solutions that solve crimes and save lives. The company’s patented technology has multiple applied science applications, including the ability to enable forensic scientists to unlock answers from the most challenging DNA evidence. Currently, the company is developing a liquid biopsy method to detect and monitor cancer through a minimally invasive blood test. InnoGenomics’ scientific team has in-depth expertise in molecular biology, forensic genetics and molecular diagnostics; and the company’s management team has over 85 combined years of experience in successful biotechnology commercialization. InnoGenomics is focused on harnessing the power of genomics to transform healthcare and forensic investigations.  Learn more on the InnoGenomics website:

myMix Nutrition

myMix Nutrition is an e-commerce store that allows individuals and organizations to formulate, and purchase their own custom protein powder products. Created by husband and wife team, Crutcher and Sarah Reiss, myMix Nutrition enlisted the assistance of registered dieticians, licensed nutritionists and internal medicine doctors to review the business plan, ingredient offerings and dosage control systems to ensure product safety.  myMix’s menu of available ingredients to mix spans the gamut to fit the needs of any and all health and fitness enthusiasts. myMix is wholly dedicated to delivering the highest quality products, creating transparency and comfort, and tailoring each mix to their customers’ exact needs. Learn more on myMix Nutrition’s website:

Sock Spot (Pleasantree, LLC)

A family of four loses over 60 pairs of socks a year! Sock Spot is the educational solution to that household problem. Sock Spot is a book and toy combo packaged together to include an organizing toy rack with colorful character sock clips and an illustrated storybook. The Sock Spot installs horizontally or vertically on your washer/dryer or anywhere in your laundry room with kid-friendly suction cups. The book tells an adventure of a boy and his lost sock, which incorporates the same characters found on the toy and a jingle to help kids remember what to do with that single unpaired sock. Sock Spot teaches children order and tidiness, while saving time and money. Each purchase helps to fund autism research and family support. Learn more on Sock Spot’s website:

“Jefferson Parish is fortunate to have such a dynamic entrepreneurial community and this competition helps to recognize those companies,” says Jerry Bologna, JEDCO’s Executive Director. “This year’s finalists represent a wide range of industries and talent which showcase the diversity and quality of our startup community.”

“The JEDCO Challenge provides a wonderful platform for the companies participating,” says First NBC Bank President & CEO Ashton Ryan. “Not only does it connect these entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who can help them grow and achieve success in Jefferson Parish, but it also gives our community a real opportunity to see the true talent, energy and creativity present in our community right now.”

The finalists will compete during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 23rd at Southport Hall. The event starts at 2:00 p.m. Each company will have seven minutes to present a live pitch in front of a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders.  Entrepreneurs will be scored based upon the live pitch, a condensed business plan submitted in advance of the competition and crowd vote. JEDCO will give the crowd an opportunity to choose their favorite pitch. A small number of points will be awarded to the crowd favorite and added to the overall score. The entrepreneur with the winning pitch will receive a growing prize package of in-kind business services and direct capital.

JEDCO created the Challenge in 2013 to identify, engage with and assist our up-and-coming innovators. The goal of the competition is to elevate opportunities for local entrepreneurs in the area through direct capital, business services, increased visibility and mentorship.

Visit the JEDCO Challenge website for continued updates on our finalists, our judge’s panel and our growing prize package.

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 and support of the JEDCO Challenge: First NBC Bank, Ardyn Thriffily and Associates, Business Innovation Center at Churchill, Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux, LLC, Cox Communications, Gambel Communications, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, LSBDC GNOR and Sandler Training.

We would also like to thank our supporting partners: The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Idea Village, Elmwood Business Association, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Greater New Orleans, Inc.,  Jefferson Parish, New Orleans BioInnovation Center and Propeller.


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.

About New Orleans Entrepreneur Week: New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by IBERIABANK, is the annual business festival celebrating entrepreneurship, innovation, and advanced thinking in New Orleans. Produced by the Idea Village, NOEW engages a dynamic global community to support growing companies and elevate entrepreneurial successes through eight days of discussion, debate, education, competition, and celebration. This year, NOEW 2015 will take place March 20-27,  2015 and 10,000+ are expected to engage through over 70 events.