City Announces New Programming To Support Small, Disadvantaged Businesses Growth

NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city is expanding the BuildNOLA program to continue to support the city’s small and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). The expansion includes new initiatives to further training opportunities for small businesses and DBEs on green economy initiatives. These programs include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate Certification and Arborist exam preparation classes.

         “We are excited to forge these new partnerships to create additional training programs for our small and disadvantaged business enterprises,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “As the city continues to focus on resilience, these new programs will help businesses become versatile and take advantage of new opportunities in the green economy. As we continue to create the city of our dreams, we are investing in our small businesses and DBEs because we know that the success of these businesses are important to the growth of our city.”

         Last year, the city certified 95 new DBE firms. In 2017, $77.5 million was committed to DBE firms, representing 39.05 percent DBE participation for city contracts exceeding the 35 percent goal.

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         Network for Economic Opportunity executive director Ashleigh Gardere said, “We are very proud of the work of the BuildNOLA program. It has been able to impact the lives of residents across New Orleans and help perpetuate the network’s mission of creating pathways to prosperity. We are eager to hear of the great work that our small businesses and DBEs are able to do with these new green certification opportunities.”

         The BuildNOLA program has helped participating businesses secure more than $5 million in new public and private sector contracts and create more than 63 new jobs. In 2016, the city launched the BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund to help those local small businesses and contractors that have demonstrated the technical capacity to perform work for the city but do not have the cash on-hand required to handle unpredictable payment schedules of public sector work.

         In October 2015, the Network for Economic Opportunity, through the city’s Office of Supplier Diversity, launched BuildNOLA, an eight-week training program to help prepare local small and disadvantaged businesses to more effectively compete for public and private contracts. The program expands the City’s pool of competitive and qualified bidders and maximize contracting opportunities for DBEs.

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         In partnership with the United States Green Building Council of Louisiana (USGBC Louisiana), the Network for Economic Opportunity will begin hosting LEED Green Associate Certification exam preparation classes to educate small businesses and DBE’s on green building practices.

         Housed at Delgado Community College, the eight-hour course will be divided into three sessions:


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Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


         Participants must attend all three sessions. Those interested in signing up must email The deadline to register is Oct. 3.

         Additionally, the Network for Economic Opportunity is partnering with the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center (LSU AgCenter) to offer Arborist Exam Preparation classes to educate businesses on the planting, caretaking and maintaining of trees. The majority of roadwork in New Orleans requires a licensed arborist to review the impact to trees on the roadwork project. This new training will ensure that more local businesses can compete for the unprecedented amount of recovery work in the city, reps said.

         Also housed at Delgado, classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday from Oct. 2, through Nov. 8. Classes will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.

         Seating is limited to 30 students. Those interested in signing up must email The deadline to register is Sept. 26.

         USGBC Louisiana Board member Casius Pealer said, "The LEED Green Associate credential (LEED GA) is designed for contractors and other construction professionals to demonstrate general knowledge of green building practices and an understanding of how to support others working on construction projects with sustainability goals. These practices emphasize water management, energy efficiency, and occupant health outcomes, and are increasingly required for public projects in New Orleans, across Louisiana, and nationally."

         LSU AgCenter associate professor Dr. Hallie Dozier said, “New Orleans, like other cities in Louisiana, is home to a beautiful, vibrant green canopy. Who could imagine life in New Orleans without the beautiful trees? It’s unthinkable. Our urban forest provides so many benefits: beauty, cleaner water, storm water retention, cleaner air, cooling shade and habitat for wildlife, to name a few. But trees do not thrive on their own. They need the skilled services of trained tree care specialists – arborists – to establish, thrive and endure in our urban landscapes. In addition to preparing for credentialing arborist exams, green industry workers who take this course will increase their technical knowledge about trees and tree care and greatly enhance their ability to care for this valuable resource.”

         Delgado Business & Technology Division dean Warren R. Puneky, Jr. said, “The Delgado Community College Entrepreneurship and Small Business Center is proud to continue our partnership with The City of New Orleans Office of Supplier Diversity and its Build NOLA initiative to grow the community of skilled small business owners.”


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