Jedco Challenge

From Startup to Success Story
From Startup to Success Story

JEDCO serves as a resource for entrepreneurs all year round. Learn more about our business incubator. Read More

5 startups. 5 pitches. 1 winner.
5 startups. 5 pitches. 1 winner.

  The JEDCO Challenge provides a platform for early-stage ventures to connect with Jefferson Parish business leaders. Read More

Winner’s Circle
Winner’s Circle

  Congratulations to Poof Cotton Candy, the winner of the 2018 JEDCO Challenge. Read More



The safety and well-being of our community and our staff are paramount today and every day.  At this time, we feel it is best to indefinitely postpone the JEDCO Challenge. We will be focusing our efforts on providing our local businesses with updated resources and information related to the pandemic to minimize business disruption. Check back here regularly for JEDCO Challenge updates.

If you need business assistance during this extraordinary time, please visit JEDCO’s COVID-19 webpage for information or contact us at 504-875-3908.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! Stay safe & healthy!

The JEDCO Challenge helps startups become success stories.

The JEDCO Challenge, powered by Greater Lakeside Corporation, elevates opportunities for entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform in which to showcase their early-stage ventures and uniting them with today’s local business leaders, establishing relationships that will provide access to direct capital, business resources and mentorship. Our up-and-coming innovators are the future of Jefferson Parish and we want to give them the tools to find success locally.

Startups compete for $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind business services to help them grow. This competition is for any startup company with ties to Jefferson Parish hoping to make it to that next step. We’re here to help!

2020 JEDCO Challenge Criteria
JEDCO seeks entrepreneurs with unique ideas that have the high potential to grow and positively impact Jefferson Parish. 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 fewer than 5 employees
  • Must be a for-profit company
  • Must not have been a Top Five finalist in previous JEDCO Challenge competitions

How Does It Work?
First thing’s first! Apply for the JEDCO Challenge by 11:59 PM on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Once the deadline has passed, JEDCO will choose approximately 10 applicants to move on to the second round. All Round 2 semifinalists will be required to provide JEDCO with an executive summary of their business and attend a 30-minute interview with a panel of business leaders  on April 16th or 17th. Our panel of experts will help us choose our 2020 JEDCO Challenge finalists. The JEDCO Challenge finalists will be invited to give a live seven-minute pitch & a product demo at the JEDCO Challenge on May 21, 2020 at the Gretna Cultural Center.

Don’t worry! We don’t just throw our finalists to the wolves. Every entrepreneur chosen to compete in the JEDCO Challenge MUST go through one Pitch Prep session with JEDCO. It’s mandatory and former finalists tell us it’s very helpful. Plan for that on May 14, 2020.

What happens if you make it to the final round?
Here’s what you can expect on the day of the event.

  • Finalists will have a table to showcase their product at the 2020 JEDCO Challenge. This is important because it will help our finalists secure votes.
  • Finalists will have just seven minutes to pitch their ventures to a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders and a live audience.
  • Judges have 5 minutes for questions after each pitch concludes.
  • The judges choose our winner. They score on Jefferson Parish impact, viability, scalability, competitive advantage, strength of pitch and more.
  • The winning pitch receives $20,000 in cash and additional in-kind business services (thanks to our amazing sponsors) to help grow their company locally.
  • This year, we’ll also give out a second place cash prize of $7,000 and a crowd vote prize of $5,000.

Important Dates
Interested in applying? Then you’ll need to mark these dates on your calendar!

  • Deadline to Apply: 11:59 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Round 2 Interviews: Thursday, April 16th and Friday, April 17th (subject to change)
  • Pitch Prep Sessions (mandatory for all finalists): Thursday, May 14, 2020
  • 2020 JEDCO Challenge: Thursday, May 21, 2020, from 5-8PM at the Gretna Cultural Center


CRITERIA: Must live, work or have a strong presence in Jefferson Parish, Must generate less than $500,000 in revenue, Must have fewer than 5 employees, Must be a for-profit company AND Must not have been a Top Five finalist in previous JEDCO Challenge competitions


Contact Name:
Business Name:
Company Website:
Contact E-mail:
Contact Phone:
Company Facebook Page:
Company Twitter Page:
Company LinkedIn Page:
Company Instagram Page:
Company YouTube Channel:

Please describe your business or business concept. Include business description as well as services and products offered. (Limit 500 words)

How does your business contribute to the Jefferson Parish economy?

Who is your target market? How big is it, and do you expect it to change over time? (Limit 500 words)

Date your business opened OR planned opening date:?

Is your business a for-profit company?

Is your business generating revenue currently?

Please share your 2019 fiscal year gross sales.

What is your anticipated gross annual sales two (2) years from now (fiscal year 2022)?

How many employees do you have?

Based on projected growth, how many employees do you expect to have in 2 years?

Why are you the right entrepreneur for this business? Please explain what relevant experience you have. (Limit 500 words)

If you have partners/co-founders/investors, please list their roles/responsibilities. What are the qualifications of your management team? (Limit 500 words)

What/who is your competition (500 words or less)?

Is this your first business venture? If not, what is/are the name(s) of the other business(es) you have created and do they currently still exist?

Please provide a list of your current competitors

What is your competitive advantage? What sets your company apart? What are you doing that is new, interesting or innovative? (Limit 500 words)

How are you promoting your products or services currently?

What are the key challenges facing your business right now? (Limit 500 words)

Are you currently paying yourself and your employees a salary? If not, how many years before you will be able to generate enough revenue to do so?

How will you use the prize money to grow your business? (Limit 500 words)

Is there anything else you want to share about your company? For example, does your company’s product or service serve to impact community development; offer a solution for sustainability or green-thinking; or utilize other local products? This is the place to share anything else about your business that you’ve not already included in other parts of the application. (Limit 500 words)

Which of the following would be most valuable for your business?

If other, explain:

Enter the characters from above:



The JEDCO Challenge would not be possible without the support of our local business community.

JEDCO would like to extend a big thank you to all of the companies and organizations that supported the 2017 JEDCO Challenge. Our sponsors donated money, time, and in-kind services to ensure the JEDCO Challenge has a positive impact on regional entrepreneurs and the Jefferson Parish community. Please take a minute to look through the list of sponsors for the event. Their kindness gives us the chance to connect vision with opportunity.

2019 Partners

Jefferson Chamber of Commerce; Jefferson Parish; Elmwood Business Association; Greater New Orleans, Inc.; City of Gretna, JEDCO Development Corporation; Westbank Business & Industry Association; Louisiana Small Business Development Center – Greater New Orleans; Tulane University Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation – Freeman School of Business; Women’s Business Enterprise Council South; Propeller


Meet our Entrepreneurs

Don't Get Mad Get Paid

Simone Spence
Don't Get Mad Get Paid is changing how moms collect unpaid child support through their tech solution. The tech platform locates the absent parent, finds his income, assets (both real and personal) and then generates the state-specific legal documents necessary to place liens on and seize assets that have been found, allowing mom to collect faster and more efficiently. Don't Get Mad Get Paid is looking to put a big dent in the $117 billion in unpaid child support that has been left on the table by millions of frustrated women across the country.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Rohan Walvekar
nDorse is a mobile and web based software application that allows co-workers and team members to provide real time positive feedback based on fulfillment of one or more institutional core values. nDorse is easy to use and allows employees to give and receive meaningful feedback in a quick and efficient manner. It empowers individuals in the organization to recognize one another, transcending barriers of geography, time and hierarchy to create brand ambassadors. The technology provides valuable data and analytics to the organization, allowing company leadership to understand the positive benefits created through peer-to-peer recognition. nDorse documents these efforts and how they translate into employee satisfaction and turnover rates. The goal is to create a company culture that fosters positivity, compassion and cohesiveness.
Website | Facebook | Twitter


Jeanne O'Leary
Poof Cotton Candy gave the classic confection the costume change it so desperately needed. The company's gourmet, hand crafted flavors like King Cake, Cookies & Cream and Toasted Coconut are dressed with sprinkles, edible glitters and other delicious morsels like crumbled cookies. Poof's single serving, 110-calorie pinwheels are perfect for wedding and party favors, client gifts, swag bag additions and an afternoon pick-me-up. Poof Cotton Candy is manufactured in Jefferson Parish.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Lydia Winkler & Marco Nelson
RentCheck provides security and serenity to renters and landlords alike with a standardized process ensuring lasting financial benefit. RentCheck can service 21 million independent landlords and small businesses who manage 95% of the rental market. We offer an app that saves money, time and prevents grief by standardizing move-in and move-out inspections and streamlining the security deposit deduction process. RentCheck was founded in 2018.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

RePurpose Food Co.

Shani Christopher
RePurpose Food Company produces healthy baby food made from simple ingredients manufactured with rescued produce (i.e. perfectly good vegetables that don't make it to the grocery stores because of excess amounts or because of the way they look). By using produce that would otherwise be discarded, RePurpose reduces food waste while making healthy food more accessible. The baby food is sold primarily through a subscription model, serving as a customizable meal plan delivery service for babies and their busy, health-conscious parents. RePurpose works with community and nonprofit partners to manufacture and distribute the product to underserved communities, as well as to provide additional supplemental education. Additionally, RePurpose reuses all packaging to lower the environmental impact of the product.



(Jefferson Parish, La) — JEDCO joined local councilmembers and Jefferson Parish partners to celebrate the grand opening of a renowned local catering and events company on Tuesday. Pigéon Catering & Events opened their consolidated headquarters in Old Jefferson. The festivities marked the culmination of an estimated $6 million renovation effort has transformed a 55,000-square-foot former vodka distillery into the company’s … Read more »


(WESTWEGO, La) – Loop Linen Service, a fourth-generation family-owned full-service textile rental company, announced it will invest $15 million to construct a new 55,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art commercial laundry facility. Founded in 1929, Loop Linen provides rental textiles including table linen, garments and walk-off mats for the food and beverage and hospitality industries. The company started as a local dry cleaning and … Read more »


(JEFFERSON PARISH, La) — The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and Jefferson Parish School System (JP Schools) teamed up during National Manufacturing Week to provide a multi-day, hands on educational experience designed to connect students to skilled career options in the advanced manufacturing industry.   Manufacturing Week, which runs from October 6-October 13, 2023, was designed to elevate the contributions … Read more »



Ready to help.

Kelsey Scram
700 Churchill Parkway
Avondale, Louisiana 70094
P 504.875.3927


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