2017 Finalists, Judges Announced For Startup St. Bernard’s $110K Pitch Competition

CHALMETTE, LA – The five finalist of Startup St. Bernard have been announced by the pitch competition's organizers, the Meraux Foundation and St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation: Crescent City Seafood Connection, Da Parish Kayaks, Functional Health and Wellness LLC, Leduc Entertainment and Reactive Digital Systems.

         Judges for 2017 Startup St. Bernard are: Jimmy Roussel, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund; Cleveland Spears, president and CEO of Spears Group; David Fennelly, director of Associated Terminals LLC and president of Turn Services LLC; Aaron Dirks, founder and CEO of Deluxe Shuttle, chairman and co-founder of Posigen, and sirector of business development at Limosine Livery; and Erica Larkin Gaudet, sculptor and owner of Larkin Gaudet LLC.

         Tom Gregory, multiple regional Emmy Award winner and WYES producer, will emcee the event.

         The live pitch competition, held in conjunction with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, offers finalist the opportunity to compete for a prize package valued at $110,000 including cash and in-kind services.

         Startup St. Bernard was open to any business that agreed to locate their base of operations in St. Bernard Parish and help improve its entrepreneur ecosystem. An independent scoring committee chose the following five finalists based on the criteria that included the quality of their business plan and impact on St. Bernard Parish.

         More about the five finalists include:


• Crescent City Seafood Connection (CCSC) is a local seafood distribution/ wholesale company selling and delivering seafood to multiple restaurants in the Greater New Orleans area, and it is working to develop out-of-state business. CCSC is proposing to open an Oyster Bar/Fish Market in Historic Old Arabi.

• Da Parish Kayaks looks to open fishing kayak rentals and guide services in St Bernard Parish, collaborating with other local small businesses. The plan comes from the owners and operators of Kayak-iti-Yat, a New Orleans-based eco-tourism company.

• Functional Health and Wellness LLC (FHW), currently operating as Girls Gone Buff, improves the overall quality of life for members living in and near St. Bernard Parish. FHW encourages clients to live healthier lifestyles through exercise, proper nutrition, education, and fun.

• Leduc Entertainment is a full-fledged creative-based production company striving to set its customers above the competition with quality video production. Whether it’s a commercial, web video or a feature-length film, they believe that every project has the power to move someone.

• Reactive Digital Systems, LLC is a small business on the forefront of augmented reality education. Augmented reality reacts to user input, engaging learners of all ages in a wide field of studies, and it is the new frontier of interactive education.


         The finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges on Monday, March 20, at the Meraux Foundation's Docville Farm at 5128 E. St. Bernard Highway in Violet, LA, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

         Details on the events $110K prize package will be announced soon.

         The event is free and open to the public.

         Anyone interested in attending the "Shark Tank-style" business competition should register here


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