New Orleans has a special kind of rhythm that revolves around events. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, we anticipate these celebratory disruptions, and plan our work and schedules around them. One special event that adds a new beat to Louisiana has grown steadily over the last seven years. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week or NOEW, is a weeklong series of business competitions, presentations, and gatherings of entrepreneurs, funders, thought leaders, and social innovators seeking to promote and discover big ideas. Produced by The Idea Village, NOEW is a powerful driver of positive change, and an exciting series of events that attract thousands.
Five years ago, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and The Idea Village connected with NOLAVibe partners Grasshopper Mendoza and Steve Picou, and teamed to launch the Water Challenge, an entrepreneurial competition that seeks to discover and nurture ideas that address Louisiana's water-related problems, such as coastal land loss and flooding. Produced this year by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, a dynamic and effective incubator, the Water Challenge is a full day of ideas and presentations focused on addressing some of the most compelling issues facing Louisiana and much of the world.
This year the Water Challenge takes place on Monday, March 23 at the Chicory on Fulton Street. It features two competitions. The first is an art challenge to select a concept to be installed in the soon-to-open Lafitte Greenway, a new linear park that connects New Orleans from City Park to Basin Street and the French Quarter. The Greenway follows the path of the city's first canal and is planned to have water features, native plants, gardens, a bikeway, and more. In the afternoon, entrepreneurs will publicly showcase their ideas before a panel of judges, and the one will be selected for a prize of $10,000 of investment capital.
The Water Challenge is a catalyst for ideas that solve pressing problems. It is a dynamic driver of a movement to create new business solutions to help us thrive as we learn to live more harmoniously with water and the environment upon which we depend. It is a powerful tool for cultivating innovation and participation. After this year's competition, Propeller will continue to grow this vital program, and will be announcing exciting new developments soon. We're proud to have been co-founders, but are even more excited by what's to come!
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