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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Social Entrepreneurs Of New Orleans, Inc.


New Orleans, LA

Project Name

Propeller and New Orleans Startup Fund, Social Impact Equity Fund


Seed Fund Support

Award Amount


The angel and venture capital markets in Louisiana are young and undersized compared to similar markets nationally. While the rate of start-ups founded in Metro New Orleans has grown to nearly twice the national average, access to capital for those companies remains limited. The entire state of Louisiana attracted only $123 million in venture/growth capital in 2014, a fraction of the $626 million raised the same year in the city of Austin, Texas — only 300 miles away. Over the last decade, there have been fewer than 100 venture investments made within a 300-mile radius of New Orleans.

The Social Impact Equity Fund will deploy equity funds to provide critical capital for social innovators in Louisiana, specifically focusing on capitalizing populations underrepresented in innovation and entrepreneurship, driving economic development by building capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. This fund will primarily focus on providing equity investments to social innovation companies less than three years old and with less than $1 million in revenue in asset areas to the region including water, health care, education, and food.

Propeller, a nonprofit social entrepreneurship accelerator, and The New Orleans Startup Fund, a nonprofit seed fund, will collaborate to provide equity investment to impact entrepreneurs in the Metro New Orleans region.

The Social Impact Equity Fund will focus on providing capital to innovators with significant social impact to scale their companies in Propeller’s four target industries: education, health, food, and water. These industries are poised to address deep social problems plaguing our region, providing an ecosystem ripe for innovation to grow and flourish.

Long term, Propeller and the New Orleans Startup Fund envision leveraging regional economic and human assets to develop a pipeline of social innovators that will make our region competitive on a global scale and continue to attract capital to further expand our innovation-based ecosystem. Through this fund, we aim to work with entrepreneurs to leverage these investments to bring over $10 million in capital to our region.