Wednesday, 26 March 2014 18:51

Louisiana economic development, entrepreneurship awards spring forth

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money-in-nestIt must be spring for the scent of Louisiana entrepreneurship and economic development awards are in the air.


The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and First NBC Bank are pleased to announce the winner of the second annual JEDCO Challenge. PortaVision Medical, an x-ray system that improves the quality of care for premature babies based out of Jefferson Parish, took home the top prize at Tuesday's event. David Bode, the company's Director of Strategy and Finance, presented the winning pitch.

Founder, Terry Ancar, designed and manufactured the NeoRay Portable Digital X-Ray System after recognizing a real need in neonatal care units. Currently, the X-Ray devices used on adult patients are also used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units for imaging of fragile premature babies. Preterm babies often times can't handle the high level of radiation.The NeoRay solves that problem. It is a small, compact system that is specially designed to be used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units right at the incubator. In comparison to the 1,200-pound X-ray systems currently being used, the NeoRay will greatly enhance and improve the healthcare of preterm babies by saving imaging time, reducing infant radiation exposure and improving the physician's ability to make critical treatment decisions quickly. Already, PortaVision has several units in hospitals across the country, including one that was donated to Children's Hospital in New Orleans by Saints player, Marques Colston.

Held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event spearheaded by Idea Village, the JEDCO Challenge is a pitch competition to highlight entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish. Five startups were chosen out of 44 applicants to compete in Tuesday's event at Southport Hall. Alexander Girau of ADVANO, Alex Goss of The Collector, Blaine Lindsey of GetHealthy, Inc. and Sean Carrigan of MobileQubes joined Bode to compete for the Jefferson Parish prize package.

The entrepreneurs pitched to over 100 people at Southport Hall Tuesday. The winner was partially chosen by a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders: Betsie Gambel, founder of Gambel Communications; Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc.; Clayton White of Simmons & White and The South Coast Angel Fund; Mike LeBeau of First NBC Bank and Leo Holzenthal of MS Benbow & Associates. The judges scored the pitches on presentation, innovation, ability to answer questions effectively, Jefferson Parish impact and company scalability. The entrepreneurs also received points based on a crowd vote and business plans submitted in advance of Tuesday's pitch competition.

"I am impressed with the quality of the startups that participated in the JEDCO Challenge. All of the entrepreneurs involved in the Challenge represent the future wave of business leaders in Jefferson Parish and we look forward to seeing all of them find success in our community," says Jerry Bologna, JEDCO Executive Director. "PortaVision truly proved its capacity to grow and positively impact Jefferson Parish through its neonatal x-ray system. JEDCO will remain at the ready to support PortaVision, and all of the small businesses involved in the Challenge, as they continue to move forward to the next level of success."

"This is a truly momentous occasion for PortaVision Medical," says PortaVision founder and CEO Terry Ancar. "This has been a process six years in the making. Winning the JEDCO Challenge presents a huge opportunity for this company and we look forward to putting the prize package to good use. We want to thank JEDCO and Jefferson Parish for their support and look forward to improving healthcare for premature babies in Jefferson Parish and across the region for many years to come."

PortaVision Medical won a prize package worth almost $80,000 in cash and business services, including:

$20,000 in cash provided by First NBC Bank, 1st Lake Properties/Bella Ridge Apartments, Atmos Energy, MMI Culinary Services and Postlethwaite & Netterville
Professional accounting and tax services from LaPorte CPA's and Business Advisors
Facilitated planning from A Journey to Success
20 hours of PR services from Gambel Communications
12 hours of strategic competitive intelligence research to gain knowledge of the industry from Ardyn Thriffiley and Associates
Legal hours from Baker Donelson
A year of weekly sales training with Sandler Training
Free business consulting with the Cordina New Orleans Cocktails team
Complimentary Jefferson Chamber membership and a meeting with Chamber president, Todd Murphy
Interview on Cox 4's Across Louisiana
Insurance and risk management consulting with the Gillis, Ellis & Baker team
Design and creation of a website from Compucast Web Design
Free training workshops from the LSBDC for the top three companies
Design engineering, professional drafting, consulting engineering, project management and telecommunications from MS Benbow & Associates
Free office space at the Business Innovation Center at Churchill

"The JEDCO Challenge provides a wonderful platform for the companies participating," adds First NBC Bank President & CEO Ashton Ryan. "Not only does it connect these entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who can help them grow and achieve success in Jefferson Parish, but it also gives our community a real opportunity to see the true talent, energy and creativity present in our community right now."


More awards?  Here's another one via Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans (JAGNO) and The Idea Village

Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans (JAGNO) presents the winner of The Junior Idea – an entrepreneurial pitch competition and collaborative effort as part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). Madi Hannan, a senior at Mount Carmel Academy was selected by a panel of judges for her business idea Infinite Designs Clothing. The panel of judges included: Emily Madero, Managing Director of The Idea Village; Robby Moss, President of Hartwig Moss Insurance Agency; Peter Bodenheimer, Co-Founder of Flatstack and Voodoo Ventures and Norman Robinson, WDSU News Anchor.

Madi pitched her idea along with three other teams of finalists that included students from Archbishop Chapelle, St. Mary’s Dominican and Warren Easton. The final four teams received $2,500 for continued learning opportunities and paid summer internships with a local company. Madi will receive an additional $7,500 to go toward continued learning and a one-week internship at The Idea Village.



Nominations now being accepted for 2014 Lantern Awards

Alas, now for an award yet to come...Louisiana Economic Development is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Lantern Awards. The awards are presented annually to outstanding manufacturers from each of Louisiana’s eight regional planning and development districts. The deadline to submit nominations is Monday, May 12.

Nomination packets may be obtained at the Louisiana Association of Planning and Development Districts’ website, Nomination packets should be returned to the corresponding planning district office. Anyone may nominate a manufacturer for the award.

Awards will be presented June 24 during a reception held at the Governor’s Mansion. Award winners are chosen based on their excellence in manufacturing and their community involvement during the three years prior to the nomination. Louisiana has honored more than 250 manufacturers since 1979 through the Lantern Awards. Last year’s winners included a range of companies that illustrate the diversity of Louisiana manufacturers, including Big Easy Blends – Cordina in New Orleans, High Tech Components in Broussard, Century Group, Inc. in Sulphur, Joe Gear Companies in Monroe and BASF Corporation in Vidalia.

Award winners receive lanterns that are handcrafted and donated by Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights of New Orleans. Since 1945, Bevolo has manufactured traditional and antique lighting. The Lantern Awards are a partnership between LED, the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association and the Louisiana Quality Foundation. For more information about the 2014 Lantern Awards, contact Skip Smart at 225.342.4321 or [email protected]

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