The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) are launching a $350,000 pilot program to support businesses and commercial corridors within the following seven neighborhoods identified as part of the NOLABA Strategic Neighborhood Development (SND) Strategy: New Orleans East, Lower 9, Hollygrove, Gert Town, Gentilly, Treme, and Algiers. These communities have experienced decades of disinvestment, leaving surrounding businesses more vulnerable to economic and environmental disasters, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of an intentional and strategic response to meet the needs of these vital communities, the City of New Orleans and NOLABA launched a joint program, the “Resilient Corridors Initiative,” to provide financial support to businesses to ensure their ability to continue operations through COVID-19 and continue to be anchors for future economic growth within these strategic neighborhoods.
NOLABA and the City will invest $250k to initiate the pilot program, which will support a cohort of 40 businesses currently located or with plans to expand within the target neighborhoods. Businesses chosen to participate in the pilot program will receive $5,000 in grant funding and technical support from a cadre of diverse experts and practitioners that will provide several hours of professional service to the businesses to help implement strategies to sustain their presence through this period of economic downturn and recovery. Technical assistance will be tailored specifically to the needs of each business participating in the pilot program.
In addition to direct support for businesses within these key areas, NOLABA has invested $100,000 in projects that advance commercial revitalization efforts and build economic development capacity within the seven targeted neighborhoods through partnerships with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and a coalition of community organizations.
The projects include business retention, attraction, and placemaking activities intended to increase the economic vitality of these important New Orleans neighborhoods, directly benefiting small businesses and the surrounding residents they serve.
Interested businesses must have been in existence for at least 18 months, have a physical presence within one of the seven neighborhoods, or have a signed lease/contract to open a business within one of the seven neighborhoods. Acceptance into this pilot is based on a competitive application process.
Businesses will be selected to participate in the pilot program following a review process based on several criteria, including business impact on the surrounding community, immediate and long-term business viability, and how the business intends to use grant funding and technical assistance.
Each business will be awarded a maximum grant of $5k, in addition to customized assistance from professional service providers.
Businesses will be required to document and report on their usage of the grant within 30 days of receipt.
Professional services will be procured through the NOLABA Opportunities Portal.
Applications for the Resilient Corridors Initiative are closed. If you submitted an application prior to Tuesday, December 15, your application is under review.
Participants in the pilot program will be selected by Monday, December 21.
The New Orleans Business Alliance’s Strategic Neighborhood Development strategy is comprised of these seven neighborhoods. Historically, these neighborhoods have experienced either disinvestment or lack of proportional economic growth. Following environmental or economic disaster, data reflects that these neighborhoods could see recoveries that lag behind the rest of the City, unless we have direct interventions designed to sustain the economic corridors in these neighborhoods. Local businesses in these communities are more likely to hire neighborhood residents. Vibrant corridors increase residential property values and create wealth building opportunities. Investing in these corridors therefore has a transformative impact not just on these neighborhoods, but on the entire City.
No decision has been made on whether a 2nd phase of this of this program would include additional neighborhoods, or allow for the participation of more businesses within the 7 neighborhoods outlined in the pilot.