The ME Company Is Bridging the Divide Between Talent and Businesses
(Baton Rouge, La., November 28, 2023) — After another engaging BizTech Challenge filled with forward thinkers and innovative ideas, ME Company has emerged as the winner of this year’s competition, securing a $10,000 investment to grow the business. In addition to the cash prize, the ME Company will receive a yearlong mentorship from Block or an affiliate company of their choosing, such as Square, Cash App or Tidal, and a membership to the Nexus Louisiana Technology Park.
The BizTech Challenge is a program created by Nexus Louisiana and offered exclusively to students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana. The BizTech Challenge brings together university administrators, faculty, students and the public and private sectors to build innovation ecosystems and encourage startup opportunities.
"The BizTech program is designed to support diverse student populations to launch and grow STEM-based businesses. Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to play a critical role in developing the next generation of diverse leaders in STEM, and this program provides supplemental support for students interested in entrepreneurship via real-world experience and expert mentorship." said Na'Tisha Natt, Director of Marketing and Engagement at NexusLA. “STEM professions are the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S., but African Americans represent only 9% of the STEM workforce, and that underrepresentation extends to Black-founded tech startups,” she continued.
ME Company wasn't the only competitor that walked away with a prize. Second place and a $6,000 prize with a membership to Maroon, a co-working space in New Orleans, went to LegalEase, representing Xavier University of Louisiana, which uses AI to answer legal questions. Blue Pages, an app that connects college entrepreneurs with students from Southern University, earned a $4,000 prize. And the fan favorite, Cookie-Bytes, from Southern University at New Orleans, won $1,000 and received a membership to Maroon.
At the event, ME Company impressed judges with their groundbreaking concept. The company will “bridge the gap between people who don’t know how to market themselves or people who need to market themselves and companies that need to find people to hire,” says CEO Joshuai Grant, a student at Southern University who co-founded ME Company with Andrew Grant.
ME Company’s products will simplify the process of connecting employers with people with the right skills and expertise while creating opportunities for financial empowerment and collaboration.
“I think BizTech is a great opportunity to give young aspiring creators, entrepreneurs, an opportunity to get in front of people who can realize their dreams for them and take their dreams to another level,” says Morris Chestnut, event headliner, and host and executive producer of “Rebuilding Black Wall Street,” which airs on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Since BizTech Challenge’s inception, more than 500 students have participated, with many going on to compete in and win national competitions while enjoying commercial success. NexusLA has awarded more than $130,000 to support these students.
Nexus Louisiana’s mission is to accelerate the growth of high-potential companies by providing them with coaching, capital and connections. Our programs leverage regional collaboration to foster mentorship, investment and opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their ideas and transform the technology industry in Louisiana. For more information, please visit https://nexusla.org.
About Louisiana Economic Development
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state's business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. Its mission is to cultivate jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana through integrated economic development strategies. With dedicated and knowledgeable professionals committed to Louisiana's economic future, LED strives to help businesses find the resources they need to make relocation and expansion a successful, profitable endeavor. For more information, please visit https://www.opportunitylouisiana.gov.
About Stone Pigman
Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC has been a leader in the legal and business communities for over 90 years. From New Orleans and Baton Rouge offices, the firm represents clients ranging from Fortune 50 companies to regional businesses, public entities, startup ventures and families. Its business lawyers assist clients in drafting, negotiating and closing business transactions that are regional and national in scope. The litigation professionals handle matters for clients in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana and the Gulf South. For more information, please visit https://www.stonepigman.com/.
About Block, Inc.
Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) is a global technology company with a focus on financial services, and is made up of Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL and TBD. In 2020, Block established a $100 million (USD) social impact investment fund in support of minority and underserved communities, driven by the company’s purpose of economic empowerment and its ongoing commitment to racial equality. $10 million has been allocated as an investment in international funds and lenders focusing on underserved communities in Block’s markets outside the U.S. For more information, please visit https://block.xyz/news/impact.
About Innovation Catalyst
Innovation Catalyst is a nonprofit venture development organization, formed by community leaders to strengthen and broaden Louisiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive new high-tech company formation through coaching, connections, and capital. For more information, please visit https://www.innovationcatalyst.us.