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MBAs to participate in New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

March 1, 2013

Six Loyola University New Orleans MBA students will put their enterprising skills to the test when they team up with a local company to market a device that suppresses ocean wave action. It could potentially provide land restoration along the shore of Louisiana’s already depleted coastline.

Loyola will join MBA students from seven other universities for The Idea Village’s IDEAcorps during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 16-22. IDEAcorps is the country’s premier entrepreneurial experiential learning program that has engaged more than 500 individuals from more than 20 business schools across the U.S. The week-long entrepreneurial festival lures nationally renowned venture capitalists, regional investors and corporate volunteers, who come together and support early-stage New Orleans ventures and expose emerging opportunities.

Loyola’s team has paired up with startup Pierce Industries, inventor of a patented modular shoreline protection and sediment retention system known as the Wave Suppression Sediment Collection System—The Wave Robber™. Loyola will compete against Columbia Business School, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, and the Yale School of Management.

The team, which is made up of students enrolled in a Loyola entrepreneurship workshop with assistant professor of management Felipe Massa, Ph.D., includes: Joshua Daly, Christine Lazzaro, Jessie Millsap, Conrad Pramono, Haritiana Rakotomamonjy and Sarah Zarate.

The Loyola students are excited to work with a product that could have a positive and meaningful affect on the state and beyond. “We feel very lucky to be paired with not only an important product, but a passionate, caring entrepreneur, who brings heart, drive and expertise to the project. We do believe the problem the product addresses will make a compelling case for our team,” Zarate said. “We would love to win, but helping owner Webster Pierce develop his business and sell his product to help prevent coastline erosion is our end game.”

This year, for the first time, the MBA teams were allowed to review the companies and their scopes and submit a top five list to The Idea Village, of which one of the top three was selected. MBA students will work with Pierce Industries during Entrepreneur Week to tackle critical business challenges and leverage strategic opportunities. The students have been preparing for this project since the semester began, which is the main project in their workshop. Team members also sit in on the entrepreneur's meetings with The Idea Village staff and dedicate four class periods plus outside assignments each week to the project before the Entrepreneur Week kicks off.

“Since 2009, IDEAcorps has been connecting top MBAs with New Orleans startups to provide direct strategic consulting services,” said Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village. “The program has catalyzed the New Orleans entrepreneurial community and created a real-world experience with entrepreneurship.”

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