SBEDF Delivers Annual Report To St. Bernard Parish Council, President

CHALMETTE – 2016 represented a pivotal year for The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF). A complete rebranding effort, increased media features, fundraising gains and the hiring of new staff are just a handful of developments that the organization discussed on Tuesday, Jan. 3, in a presentation at the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers.

         “Our organization has worked diligently to meet the goals we set at the beginning of the year, and in many ways, we have exceeded expectations,” explained Andrew Jacques, SBEDF executive director.

         SBEDF was reflective of a renewed energy felt by many businesses, residents and government departments throughout St. Bernard Parish, reps said. In the presentation, Jacques discussed key business developments in several sectors including energy, film and digital media, entrepreneurship and retail.

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         Jacques also discussed the growth of SBEDF’s two flagship programs, Startup St. Bernard and Working on the Water (WOW). Jacques said, “WOW has distinguished itself as a reliable source of information for our local commercial fishing industry, and was awarded a grant by the Greater New Orleans Foundation to continue WOW programming in 2017.” 

         The organization is currently partnering with The Meraux Foundation to produce the 3rd annual Startup St. Bernard, an entrepreneurship competition, taking place at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm on March 20, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

         The organization’s leadership appears hopeful that the future of SBEDF and St. Bernard Parish is bright. “St. Bernard Parish’s business environment is seeing a substantial resurgence,” Joey DiFatta, outgoing SBEDF Board of Directors chairman, said. “SBEDF is leading the way for new business and industry to develop.  We are the number one source of information for site selectors, investors, and business owners looking to launch or expand a business in St. Bernard Parish.”

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         The St. Bernard Parish Council welcomed the update on the actions of SBEDF and several councilmembers express gratitude for the progress made by the organization. Jacques said, “Our organization will continue to work closely with St. Bernard Parish Government and other local and regional partners to spur development and grow the economy.”

         Deborah Keller, incoming SBEDF Board of Directors chairwoman, says she is excited to lead the organization and looks forward to what the New Year has in store. “We have moved beyond recovery mode and have established a solid base for retaining and attracting new businesses,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to work with our board of directors to expand the economy and job opportunities in community.”

         View highlights from the 2016 Annual Review here

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