International Economic Development Council Gives New Orleans Business Alliance Two Excellence in Economic Development Awards

NEW ORLEANS – The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) named the New Orleans Business Alliance the winner of a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge, and a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its STRIVE Job Readiness Curriculum in New Orleans. The announcement was made in a press release from the New Orleans Business Alliance for Economic Development.

The honors were presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 2, during the IEDC Annual Conference in Atlanta.“This is the Olympics of economic development,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “Earning these honors from the world’s top international economic development organization, and our alignment with Mayor Cantrell’s holistic, people-focused job creation efforts, tells us that New Orleans is on the right track. We’re proud of these wins and of the work we’re doing for the people of New Orleans. A lot of work remains to ensure that all New Orleanians benefit from our economic development efforts, and we’re up for the challenge.”

Craig Richard, CEcD, FM, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and 2018 IEDC board chair said: "This year our judges reviewed some extraordinary projects that advanced both communities and businesses. We congratulate all the award winners, and thank everyone who nominated their projects for sharing their success with fellow IEDC members. What we learn from each other helps us to grow and advance as a profession. We look forward to even greater participation from economic developers across the globe in the 2019 awards program.”  

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The Health Innovators Challenge won the gold for a Business Retention and Expansion Single Event. The program seeks to enhance the economic impact in the bio-innovation industry cluster in New Orleans. Launched in 2017, NOLABA’s Health Innovators Challenge is designed to accelerate local growth of digital health businesses while improving residents’ health. Over the course of several months, national competitors worked to fine tune their technology solutions to meet the needs of the healthcare systems. In March 2018, three winners were announced at the New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge Finale.

The STRIVE Job Readiness Curriculum, a professional development curriculum program facilitated by NOLABA, won the bronze award. Deployed across five different “Opportunity Centers”, STRIVE provides residents skills and access to better-paying jobs. Since 2015, nearly 500 men and women completed the courses to earn new opportunities for sustainable income, meaningful employment and economic self-sufficiency. Although facilitated by NOLABA, STRIVE is a collaborative effort of five workforce agencies (i.e., Urban League of Louisiana, Goodwill Industries, Total Community Action, JOBS 1, and NOLABA’s own STRIVE NOLA) to leverage resources and capacity to deliver a skilled and ready workforce. NOLABA works with its partners to facilitate the “Opportunity Centers” to enhance the economic security of more New Orleanians.

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