Over the past decade, Propeller has awarded more than $200,000 to entrepreneurs through its PitchNOLA Series.
Propeller and Thrive New Orleans announced that this year’s $10,000 Grand Prize and Audience Favorite Award will be awarded to Fabian Harper from Flourish Horticulture and an Audience Favorite prize will be awarded to Preston Robinson from Garden Picasso.
On June 1, five local entrepreneurs pitched their solutions to improve our region’s water economy at the 11th annual The Water Challenge. The five finalists put forth water solutions that included green infrastructure, stormwater retention, sustainable housing and construction, and flood prevention. The June 1 event — sponsored by JPMorgan Chase AdvancingCities, New Orleans Business Alliance, Entergy and the city of New Orleans — featured a judges’ panel of industry leaders and experts, growth stage venture panel, a virtual address from Mitch Landrieu, the 61st mayor of New Orleans, and a total of $17,500 awarded to all finalists.
“We need to cultivate and empower the unseen Black and Brown Indigenous people who are truly invested and committed to the future of New Orleans and its disproportionately affected communities. We have a solid foundation of local commitment that needs to be built up through education, funding and resources. This is the philosophy behind the mutual efforts of Thrive New Orleans and Propeller,” says Bernadette Carriere of Thrive New Orleans.
“We are so proud of Fabian Harper, Preston Robinson and all of our finalists who bring their ingenuity and dedication to strengthen the sustainability of our community’s future. The challenges we face as a community can only be solved collectively, and we thank all of our partners — Thrive New Orleans, Greater New Orleans Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Advancing Cities, New Orleans Business Alliance, the city of New Orleans and Entergy for your support,” echoes Andrea Chen, CEO of Propeller.
The Water Challenge 2022 Winners:
Flourish Horticulture (Fabian Harper)
$10,000 Grand Prize Winner
Garden Picasso (Preston Robinson)
$1,250 Audience Favorite Award
Funding from The Water Challenge will further support Flourish Horticulture’s work as a certified disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE), bio-friendly and environmentally conscious lawn, garden and landscape construction company that uses only battery-powered equipment and seeks to improve soil structure, water quality and efficiency, and outdoor air quality as well as aesthetic value.
Garden Picasso will utilize green infrastructure techniques with installations that retain and mediate local watershed runoff, reducing the workload on the drainage system and working to create a residential mixed-use property and community garden.
The event demonstrates the collaborative effort of local organizations to offer direct support to entrepreneurs tackling the most pressing water-related issues, while contributing to a more inclusive and effective water economy.
“The Greater New Orleans Foundation is proud to again be the presenting sponsor of The Water Challenge and to congratulate this year’s winners. Flourish Horticulture and Garden Picasso both have the potential to help New Orleans lead in job growth and in the development of the water economy right here in our region while also helping us become more resilient by building the movement to live better with water, one of the Foundation’s focal areas for our civic leadership,” says Andy Kopplin, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Competing finalists for the event included: glass recycler Delta Builds (Dorothy Nairne, Leonard Guillory), sustainable builder Gro Enterprises (Joel Holton) and landscape architect Groundwater Studio (Michael Biros).
Learn more about these entrepreneurs and The Water Challenge 2022 at gopropeller.org/pitchnola/new/waterchallenge/.