Tuesday, 22 March 2011 03:29

NanoFex Wins Water Challenge At Idea Village's New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week

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Local startup NanoFex was selected as the winner of the 2011 Water Venture Development Challenge (Water Challenge™) receiving $50,000 in seed funding and eight weeks of business development support, including $5,000 of legal services as part of the 3rd Annual Enterpreuneur Week being held in New Orleans, this week.

“I used to think we had to go to other cities to do this, but I’d like to thank everyone at The Idea Village™ and the Greater New Orleans Foundation for making it happen,” said Dave Culpepper, P.G., CEO of NanoFex. “The EPA estimates the total groundwater remediation market at $8 billion, and we hope to tap into that while purifying water and creating ‘green collar’ jobs here in New Orleans.”

NanoFex’s product purifies ground water using an innovative solution utilizing Louisiana grown sugar cain and crab shells. The prize money will go toward hiring engineers to help scale the product and field pilot projects. It is expected that the company will be in full production within a year.

The Water Challenge™ was hosted by The Idea Village™ in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) to encourage entrepreneurs to develop and expand high-growth, for-profit ventures in the water industry that can scale to a global level. 

“The Water Challenge™ was created to ignite support for entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to water challenges,” said Tim Williamson, Co-Founder and CEO of The Idea Village. “I would like to congratulate NanoFex, their venture presented a creative solution to one of our greatest problems. This isn’t about one business, though, it is about the beginning of an entrepreneurial community around water - we’re here to support this growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Starting from a pool of 23 candidates, NanoFex sealed the win during their pitch to a panel of industry experts during The Idea Village’s annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). The judges included:

  • Gordon Austin-Director, Environmental Affairs Division, Sewage & Water Board of New Orleans
  • Bob Brown-Director, Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region
  • Gary Solomon-President/CEO, Crescent Bank & Trust
  • Marnie Winters-Director, Jefferson Parish Environmental Affairs

In addition, the Water Challenge™ included a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and opportunities in Integrated Water Management, featuring the Water Challenge Advisory Committee, including: 

  • Marco F. Cocito-Monoc-Director of Regional Initiatives, Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • Beth Galante -Director of New Orleans Resource Center and Office, Global Green USA
  • Robin Barnes-Executive Vice President, Greater New Orleans Inc.
  • Douglas Meffert-Director Tulane RiverSphere 
  • Moderator: Steve Picou-Sustainable Housing Agent, LSU AgCenter
  • Mark Davis-Senior Research Fellow and Director, Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy
  • Harvey Stern- Department of Environmental Affairs, Sewage & Water Board of New Orleans
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