OUT TO LUNCH finds economist and Tulane finance professor Peter Ricchiuti conducting business New Orleans style: over lunch at Commander's Palace restaurant. Each week Peter invites guests from the New Orleans business renaissance to join him. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Inc magazine have all named New Orleans the best city in the USA to be an entrepreneur. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the new New Orleans entrepreneurial movement. You can also hear the show on WWNO 89.9FM.
Photo by Rick Lineberger
If you’re starting out in business, or you’re at an early stage of development, an incubator will help you with your business plan, your strategy for growth, and other guidance. They may even introduce you to investors. But, like being admitted to a good college, getting accepted into an incubator can be competitive. And, despite the best of intentions, the outcome of that competition is not always without bias, or solely merit-based.
That’s why, in 2009, an incubator and business accelerator calling itself Propeller started up here in New Orleans. Propeller is designed to help small businesses and non-profits in the areas of community economic development, food, water, health, and education. These areas, they say, have both “significant inequities, and proven market opportunities for local entrepreneurs to implement solutions.”
Andrea Chen is Executive Director of Propeller. On this edition of Out to Lunch, Andrea introduces two winners of the 2019 Propeller business pitch competition, Pitch NOLA.
Jon Renthrope is CEO and Brewmaster at Cajun Fire Brewing. Cajun Fire Brewing is one of 6,500 craft beer breweries in the US. Of those 6,500 breweries, only seven, or 0.1%, have African American ownership. Cajun Fire Brewing is one of that very small number.
Arien Hall is co-founder and co-owner of Mastodonte - a stormwater management company and a construction company. They design and install French drains, ponds, rain gardens, water features, rain barrels, and water retention systems. Mastodontoe won two awards at Propeller’s 2019 Pitch NOLA competition. They won in the Water Challenge division – for businesses involving water management – and they also won the Audience Favorite award.