New Orleans Business Alliance To Host Growth Symposium For Local Minority, Women-Owned Small Businesses

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is introducing new and innovative strategies to turn public and private investment into incentives to accelerate growth in local minority and women-owned businesses. 

         The new symposium “Raising Awareness: Urban Innovations for Equity” kicks off Thursday, July 20, at the Ashe Power House, 1731 Baronne St., at 9:30 a.m. City administrators, corporate executives, council members, local legislators, nonprofit leaders and small business stakeholders have been invited to attend the full-day event.

         “We know that smart public and private investment can facilitate critical incentives that build solid infrastructure in emerging businesses,” said Lynnette White-Colin, NOLABA director of Small Business Ecosystem Development. “Complementing those incentives with inclusive economic opportunity for small business owners fosters a more robust economy for the entire city.”

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         NOLABA is welcoming guests from around the country to discuss best practices and strategies that have impacted their cities and neighborhoods, including keynote speaker William Towns, who will take the stage at 1:00 p.m. Towns is the CEO of Benefit Chicago, a $100 million urban impact investment initiative.

         Other national speakers include:

• Leslie Smith from the Memphis Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE).

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• Kim Zeuli and Kathleen O’Shea from The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), who will unveil ICIC’s research on high-impact cluster growth strategies with insights from four urban cities, including New Orleans.


         Local portions of the symposium include:

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• A candid conversation about the New Orleans economy with NOLABA CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr.

• Panels with these New Orleans economic development executives:

– Brenda Breaux, executive director, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority

– Damon Burns, executive director, Finance Authority of New Orleans

– Rebecca Conwell, senior advisor for Economic Development, City of New Orleans

– Roxanne Franklin, director, City of New Orleans Equity Strategy


         The program agenda includes:

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.      Registration

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.    Welcome – Quentin Messer, CEO, NOLABA

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.    NOLABA Small Business Ecosystem Development – Lynnette White-Colin, NOLABA

10:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.    A Study on Cluster Growth Strategies – Kathleen O’Shea and Kim Zeuli, ICIC

10:35 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.    Liberty Bank – Partnership with U.S. Black Chamber Association – Ann Duplessis

10:45 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.    Panel 1 – Investment Strategies for Small Business Growth

         Facilitator: Rebecca Conwell, City of New Orleans

         Reid Dulberger, Memphis EDGE

         Leslie Smith, EPIcenter

         Brenda Breaux, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority

         Damon Burns, Finance Authority of New Orleans


12:00 p.m.                     Lunch

12:20 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.    State of the New Orleans Economy – Local Bank Executives

         Facilitator: Quentin Messer, NOLABA

         Joe Exnicios, Whitney Bank

         Hunter Hill, IBERIABANK

         Graham Ralston, Regions Bank


1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.       Keynote Speaker – William Towns – executive director, Benefit Chicago

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.       Panel 2 – Innovations in Equity, Opportunity & Capital (Fireside Chat)

         William Towns, Benefit Chicago

         Roxanne Franklin, City of New Orleans


2:55 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.       Panel 3 – Economic Inclusion Success: New Orleans

         Facilitator: Lynnette White-Colin, NOLABA

         Kevin Ferguson, Jacobs/CSRS


         For more information


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