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Entrepreneurs wanted for Get Started Louisiana Local start-ups will vie for a $10,000 prize package during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

by Wynce Nolley

Local startups will vie for a $10,000 prize package at event during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 22.

Cox Business and Inc. Magazine are looking for start-ups, entrepreneurs and small business owners in Acadiana and across Louisiana for Get Started Louisiana, a pitch contest where contestants get to present their innovative business ideas before a panel of judges for a chance to win a $10,000 prize.

Get Started Louisiana takes place Wednesday, March 22, at the Contemporary Arts Center as part of the 9th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, presented by IberiaBank and produced by The Idea Village in partnership with Solomon Group.

“Although the event is being held in New Orleans, there’s a lot of local interest and involvement,” says Patricia Thompson, public affairs manager for Cox Communications Southeast. “IberiaBank is the presenting sponsor, and two of the four judges are Lafayette business owners. Also, Pete Prados of INNOV8 has been working with us on judging criteria and helping to identify innovators.”

Those interested in pitching their idea can apply online now until midnight on Friday, Feb. 24, at The competition is limited to businesses with annual revenues below $300,000.

Five finalists will be chosen to pitch to a panel of judges in front of a live audience, and the winning business will win cash prizes and a Cox Business technology package valued at $10,000.

Contestants will be given 2.5 minutes each to pitch their idea. Ken Kraft, vice president of marketing for Cox Business, will be the host of Get Started Louisiana and will be joined by a panel of judges who will follow up with questions and observations.

This year’s judges are: Susan Cox, president and founder of LogoJET; Tom Cox, CEO and founder of;Steve Rowley, senior VP of Cox Business; and Louis Freeman Jr., CEO of Innovation Catalyst Inc.

These experts will review each of the plans and select a winner based on innovation, ease of implementation and consumer/community benefit.

Entrants will be notified by Wednesday, March 8, if they have been selected to pitch at the event. The five finalists will receive up to two coaching sessions each in advance of the event to prepare.

The Contemporary Arts Center is located at 900 Camp St. in New Orleans. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a happy hour, followed by the main competition at 6 p.m and finishing up with an After Party at 7 p.m.

To learn more about NOEW and register to attend Get Started Louisiana, visit