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New Orleans Business Alliance Receives Top Honors Including Economic Development Organization of the Year at Annual Excellence in Economic Development Awards

The organization took home a record-breaking total of eight awards at this year’s virtual event

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) received eight highly-coveted awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) during its 2020 Virtual Annual Conference held in Dallas, October 13 – 16. IEDC is the international industry association for economic development.

The annual IEDC Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development organizations (EDO’s), programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These 35 awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers worldwide, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

NOLABA received several top industry honors representing not just programmatic and leadership wins but also the impact of several high-performing marketing campaigns at this year’s awards ceremony on October 15. The organization took home eight total awards, its highest number to-date, including:  

  • New Orleans Business Alliance – Best in Show 
  • Economic Development Organization of the Year – Silver Award 
  • Victoria Adams Phipps – Young Economic Developer of the Year (Category: Leadership)
  • NOLABA.org – Gold Award (Category: General Purpose Website)
  • Gig Economy Relief Fund Dashboard – Gold Award (Category: Digital Media)
  • Youth Demonstration Project – Silver Award (Category: Economic Equity and Inclusion)
  • 2019 Annual Impact Report – Silver Award (Category: Annual Report)
  • Economic Development Reimagined Video – Silver Award (Category: Multimedia/Video Promotion)

NOLABA received IEDC’s two most coveted awards, Economic Development Organization of the Year and Best in Show, which recognize “the best of the best” agencies and organizations with a primary mission of economic development that have demonstrated long term strategic planning, organizational development and significant community impact and innovation. NOLABA touted several highly-impactful and successful initiatives over the last 12 months; most notably, it’s rapid mobilization to support the New Orleans community during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the launch of its Gig Economy Relief Fund on March 16, 2020, NOLABA became the FIRST in the region to establish a dedicated relief effort to help mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19. In total, the fund awarded more than $900,000 to gig workers across Orleans Parish, including musicians, artists, rideshare drivers, and festival production staff.    

The organization was also recognized for launching New Orleans’ first pay-for-performance contracting model, the Youth Demonstration Project, which connects local youth to career pathways. The program has supported 110 young people through training at Operation Spark, Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), and the Urban League of Louisiana.  

As a tremendous personal accomplishment, NOLABA’s Chief Strategy Officer Victoria Adams Phipps was named Young Economic Developer of the Year. In her role, she leads operational strategy, program design, and stakeholder engagement, with emphasis on marketing and communications. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria has led relief efforts that generated $1.4MM in direct relief for New Orleanians, including gig economy workers, hospitality workers, and small businesses, which landed mentions in prominent national media outlets, including ForbesBillboard and more.  

“The organization you see today is almost unrecognizable from that of the past, having transitioned from a subsidiary role in New Orleans’ ongoing growth and revitalization to one that is very much front and center, and one that is truly known, felt and appreciated by the people who call New Orleans home,” said Phipps. 

NOLABA is also proud to be recognized for the success of its first-ever Annual Meeting, which sold out nearly a month prior to being held on June 27, 2019. During that event, the organization debuted an impactful video highlighting the meeting’s overarching theme of “Economic Development Reimagined” and the comprehensive nature of the NOLABA business model by connecting it with personal impact stories. The inaugural Annual Meeting was also leveraged to unveil NOLABA’s fully-redeveloped website and 2019 Annual Report, which serve as powerful tools to attract new companies and talent to the city, with emphasis on their efforts to promote equity and inclusion. In addition to being honored by IEDC, the video, impact report, and event itself have all received several national marketing awards from the Public Relations Society of America and Ad Club of New Orleans, as well as two international MarCom Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.   

“This is the most awards, and broadest range of categories NOLABA has ever won in a single year, which is a testament to the relentless dedication and commitment from our staff,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “I’m incredibly grateful to our various partners, including the Mayor’s Office, City Council, our Board of Directors, investors, and countless community organizations, who have helped us make real and meaningful impacts in the lives of New Orleanians, especially during these difficult times. A lot of work remains to be done to make economic mobility real for all New Orleanians; however, this recognition validates that the public-private partnership for economic development is a best practice globally and is working for our residents.”  

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day,” said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”  

For a full list of IEDC award recipients or more information on this year’s annual conference, visit iedcconferences.org/dallas.


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