With a heart for serving people and for helping them recover, entrepreneur Rob Gaudet had been looking for ways to integrate that spirit with his background in business process analysis and system development. In his searching, he began to understand how a platform could be developed to help people recover after disasters. In 2016, his vision of Cajun Navy Foundation became a reality.
Rob spent several months gaining an understanding of the obstacles that might arise, and subsequently he began constructing solutions to overcome them. That led him to design what would become known as Crowd Relief. During the last two years, he has continued to build the platform and make improvements as needed.
Along the way, Rob was introduced to Bryce and Trent, who run a company named i2i Labs. The organization brings innovative start-up ideas to Walmart and to all the big brands that Walmart sells. Bryce and Trent recognized Crowd Relief’s enormous potential as a social network that could be used for the good of people as a community aid platform.
As a result, the two men recently invited Rob to the Northwest Arkansas Technology and Innovation Summit in Bentonvillle, Arkansas. As demanding as Rob’s schedule had been in the aftermath of two consecutive hurricanes, Florence and Michael, he pressed on to make the drive to Arkansas to attend the summit.
The night before the conference, a VIP reception was held for Walmart executives and for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) investors who are interested in helping start-ups get rolling in their industry. New organizations were showcased and a winner was selected from the group.
During the conference, Crowd Relief and 12 other start-up organizations were each given one minute on stage to pitch their ideas to the group of attendees. At the end of the presentations, the voting began.
Shortly after that, Rob was surprised to hear the announcement that Crowd Relief had won.
“I was just blown away,” began Rob. “It has been a long, long journey. The first thing that came to my mind was the team working back in Florida. I mean, it wasn’t even me. It was all of the stuff that everybody is doing to help. I was so humbled to accept this prize.”
The Summit was held the following day. This time, Rob was allowed five minutes to speak to a group of about 2,000 people in the audience.
“It was so effortless to talk about what we’re doing. I am really so proud of all the people who are working so hard around Hurricane Michael,” said Rob.
After Rob spoke, there was a standing ovation. He was awarded the opportunity to meet privately with Tom Douglass, Director of Emerging Technology at Walmart. They met to discuss Crowd Relief and the idea of a community aid platform.
Douglass, excited about the concept of Crowd Relief, invited Rob to return in January for another meeting. During that meeting, Rob will be introduced to the Walmart Emergency Operations Center, Walmart Foundation and other executives who are looking at how Crowd Relief can become a part of the Walmart world.
“This could be a huge opportunity for people to recover more quickly, which is really what we’re going after with Crowd Relief and with Cajun Navy Foundation. The overall idea is that good citizen volunteers, nonprofits and corporate America are working together to help families affected by disasters,” said Rob.
To learn more about how you can be a part of what Cajun Navy Foundation and Crowd Relief are doing to help famiies affected by disasters, visit CrowdRelief.net.