Press Releases

JEDCO accepting applications for 2020 startup pitch competition

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) announced the launch of the 2020 JEDCO Challenge powered by Greater Lakeside Corporation on Thursday. The economic development organization is currently accepting applications for the eighth annual startup pitch event for early-stage ventures with ties to Jefferson Parish.

Launched in 2013, the JEDCO Challenge has become a premier business event for Jefferson Parish. Annually, JEDCO chooses a number of startup companies to compete for a chance to win $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind services to support their business growth. A panel of business leaders scores the early-stage ventures on a seven-minute business pitch and a condensed business plan.

JEDCO seeks 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 annual revenue
  • Must have fewer than 5 employees
  • Must be a for-profit company
  • Must not have been a Top Five finalist in previous JEDCO Challenge competitions

The JEDCO Challenge will be held the evening of Thursday, May 21st, at the Gretna Cultural Center in historic downtown Gretna. JEDCO will issue three event prizes: first place for $20,000, second place for $7,000 and a crowd vote prize for $5,000.

Startups chosen to compete will receive an opportunity to demo products/services on the day of the pitch, online promotion in advance of event, and pitch training by JEDCO and local business leaders, including longtime presentation coach Bill Ganon, founder of The Ganon Group.

Past winners include:

  • Poof Cotton Candy (2019) delivers a fresh spin on a classic confection, “dressing” the sugary snack with sprinkles, spices, cookies and more.
  • Instapath (2018) created new biopsy imaging technology that reduces the need for repeat procedures and helps cancer patients receive a more accurate and efficient diagnosis
  • Chosen Diagnostics (2017) developed a test that can provide early detection of a deadly disease that threatens premature babies
  • Bhoomi Cane Water (2016) manufactures sugar cane water using local product
  • InnoGenomics Technologies (2015) developed a blood test that can detect and monitor certain types of cancers
  • PortaVision Medical (2014) designed an X-Ray to be used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units to enhance the health of premature babies
  • ICONIC (2013) developed a healthy meal replacement beverage for on-the-go individuals

“This annual pitch competition affords JEDCO an opportunity to connect with innovative early-stage companies through a very exciting platform,” says JEDCO President & CEO Jerry Bologna. “Through this competition, our team gains an introduction to the entrepreneurs that are helping to grow our regional business ecosystem. In turn, the JEDCO Challenge elevates opportunities for these chosen startups, giving them a chance to promote their new businesses to a vast and supportive business community. We are proud of what this event has become, and we look forward to working with another great group of innovators in 2020.”

The application for the 2020 JEDCO Challenge is live on JEDCO’s website. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 30th.