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International Economic Development Council Honors Two New Orleans Programs

NEW ORLEANS – The International Economic Development Council 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.

IEDC logo

The honors were presented at an awards ceremony Tuesday afternoon, October 2, during the current 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, 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.”


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 of Southeast Louisiana, Total Community Action, JOB1, and 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.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development. Learn more at iedconline.org.

About the New Orleans Business Alliance

One of only 70 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official economic development organization for the city. Formed in 2010, the public-private partnership is focused on inclusive economic development. NOLABA works to attract new business to New Orleans, grow existing businesses, and revitalize neighborhoods while facilitating comprehensive workforce development programs beneficial for jobseekers and employers. By pursuing an inclusive economic development strategy, all New Orleanians will have enhanced economic security. Visit nolaba.org for more information.

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