St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation Expands Workforce

CHALMETTE, LA — The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) announced it is expanding its Working on the Water (WOW) initiative to provide continued education and outreach that supports the individuals and businesses engaged in commercial fishing, coastal restoration, eco-tourism, and disaster response in St. Bernard Parish.

         The first annual Working on Water summit was held in October 2014, and under the leadership of its new executive director Andrew Jacques and through a partnership with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), SBEDF is growing the initiative to include more programming that will be held continuously throughout the year.

         “The success of last year’s WOW demonstrated that there is a lot more that we can do in this space to engage fishermen and create opportunities for them to increase their annual earnings,” said Jacques. “We are excited to have partnered with the Regional Planning Commission. The resources they are contributing will allow us to grow WOW’s capacity.”

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         The first of a number of free events is being held on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at The Entrepreneur Center at Nunez Community College in the second floor of the AST Building at 3710 Paris Road in Chalmette. “Casting a Wide Net: Hands-On Assistance with State and Federal Grants” will share information on and assistance with the USDA Added Producer Grant, which offers matching funds of 50% up to $200,000 as well as other grant opportunities.

         “Anyone fishing in our region should come to learn about the USDA Grant, otherwise they could be leaving free money on the table,” said Jacques.

         Experts will be on site at the event to help applicants complete major components of the grant application on site. State and Federal representatives will also be available to provide information and introduce other upcoming grant opportunities.

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         Additional upcoming WOW events include: “Reeling ‘Em In: Successful Branding and Marketing for Your Coastal Business” on July 28; “Finding New Pearls in the Oyster Bed: Cultivating Additional Business” on September 22; and “Avoiding Traps in the Water: Navigating Laws and Regulations for Your Coastal Business” on November 10.

         SBEDF’s partnership with the RPC is making the expanded WOW programming possible.

         The RPC is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) locally designated Economic Development District and is utilizing a portion of available EDA funds for this partnership.

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         Locally based TMG Consulting was awarded the contract to serve as program manager for WOW, organizing all of the education outreach initiatives.

         In addition to SBEDF and RPC, WOW activities are guided by an advisory committee consisting of representatives from Nunez Community College, the Meraux Foundation, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, TruFund, Leadership St. Bernard, LiftFund, St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism, GNO, Inc., and National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise Program.

         For more information




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