Startup St. Bernard

“Startup St. Bernard” presented by the Meraux Foundation and the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is an annual startup business challenge held in conjunction with Idea Village during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for a chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges in St. Bernard Parish for a prize package valued at $110,000. The competition serves to not only equip a local business to expand their operations in St. Bernard, but also improves the entrepreneur ecosystem and markets the parish as the place to start a business in Greater New Orleans. SBEDF serves in several roles pertaining to the planning and execution of the program including raising funds, marketing and organizing the event, and mentoring/promoting finalists prior to and after the competition.

Entries will be accepting for the 4th Annual Startup St. Bernard competition beginning in November 2017. See the website for more information.


3rd Annual Startup St. Bernard Recap

The 3rd Annual Startup St. Bernard competition was held on Monday, March 23, 2017 at Docville Farm from 1:00pm-3:00pm.  The event boosted its highest attendance with over 150 local businesses, regional investors, community members, and entrepreneurs.

Reactive Digital Systems, LLC took home a prize package of cash and in-kind services valued at more than $120,000 designed to help propel their business to the next level. The St. Bernard Parish-based company was one of five finalists to pitch their business at the live “Shark Tank” style public event at the Meraux Foundation’s Arlene Meraux River Observation Center at Docville Farm on Monday.

Reactive Digital Systems, LLC is on the forefront of augmented reality education. Augmented reality reacts to user input, engaging learners of all ages in a wide field of studies, and it is the new frontier of interactive education. The company produces TopoBox, a cutting-edge educational instrument that projects an augmented micro-reality on a “sand box” that users can manipulate. Videos and more information are available on the company’s website at

Other 2017 finalists included Crescent City Seafood Connection, Da Parish Kayaks, Functional Health & Wellness, and Leduc Entertainment.

  The finalists' pitches were judged by an esteemed panel of businesspeople, including: Jimmy Roussel, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund; Cleveland Spears, President and CEO of Spears Group; David Fennelly, Director of Associated Terminals LLC and President of Turn Services LLC; Aaron Dirks, Founder and CEO of Deluxe Shuttle, Chairman and Co-Founder of Posigen, and Director of Business Development at Limosine Livery; and Erica Larkin Gaudet, sculptor and owner of Larkin Gaudet LLC. WYES-TV’s Tom Gregory emceed the event. 

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Past Winners & Finalists

2016 Winner: Christie's Dreams Seafood

Christie's Dreams Seafood is an existing local business that entered Startup St. Bernard to help launch a new product line — St. Bernard Parish branded seafood. The company plans to freeze and package fresh shrimp and soft shell crabs locally caught in St. Bernard Parish waters using a flash freezing method that guarantees premium quality.

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2016 Finalists


Girls Gone Vegan

​The Coffee House

​Atlas Mechanical Design


2015 Winner: 40 Arpent Brewing Company

40 Arpent Brewing Company is a micro-brewery located along the Mississippi River in Old Arabi.  Owner, Michael Naquin utilized the funds to build a  taproom approximately 1,000 square feet, including a bar, additional seating and a stage. He said he expects the brewery will hold monthly events with live music.

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2016 Finalists

​St. Bernard Syrups (Coast Roast LLC)

The Creole Tomato Project

​Ruff Stuff LLC

​Christie's Dreams Seafood