Economic Development

Economic Development

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion As a Strategy for Growth

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion As a Strategy for Growth

Click aqui para español- >Diversidad, igualdad e inclusión como estrategía de crecimiento

There is plenty of evidence that communities that embrace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) perform much better than those which do not. As the United States becomes a minority majority country, being able to be inclusive will be fundamental for the prosperity of our nation. Earlier this year the Brookings Institute released research results stating that economic inclusion may be the key to lasting growth and prosperity. Their publication shows that the relationship of growth and prosperity to inclusion grows larger and stronger over time.

To advance in DEI, it is important that we embrace changes at an individual level but most importantly that we change organizations and ultimately systems. Understanding the underlying cause of the lack of diversity and then acting upon it is key.

I belong to organizations where we have looked at our teams and realized the executive team members and leadership are not representative of the communities we serve. Intentionality becomes relevant in these situations, so in some instances, we have slightly changed procedures to guarantee we truly embrace DEI.

New Orleans has the fortune of being home to organizations that understand the need for diversity, equity and inclusion. These organizations also help others achieve their goals in this regard. Founded in 2017, Beloved Community is a New Orleans based organization committed to building a new ecosystem that can sustain equitable, diverse schools, businesses and neighborhoods. Their name is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. teachings. He promoted the concept of inclusiveness, both economically and socially, through the notion of the “Beloved Community.” He stated that achieving economic and social justice is necessary for a healthy society.

In their first year of operation they have reached more than 1,575 students, over 170 school faculty, and more than 2,000 youth. Beloved Community has helped multiple organizations obtain a budget increase allocated to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Beloved Community is building a diverse voice in local leadership across education, housing, and the corporate sectors. They are devoted to making sure that the commitment to real solutions to support DEI remains long after any individual leader, local legislation, or funding stream is gone. Most importantly, they are true believers that people change systems, which is why they offer capacity building programs to support, build and sustain the path for growth. You can find more about their services at wearebeloved.org.

Until next time!

Dialogue as a Tool for Economic Progress

Dialogue as a Tool for Economic Progress

By Alejandra Guzman

Click aqui para español->El dialogo como herramienta para el progreso económico

Too many, if not every economic and social issue of our time, is multidimensional in nature. This requires that those leaders that attempt to solve them are open to dialogue and to understanding different points of views. Many organizations, including the Aspen Institute recognize this. This organization is dedicated to foster a good society and bring people together to promote dialogue and exchange of ideas. This is done through different programs including the Socrates Salon. Named after the Socratic method of discussion, participants of this program go through expert moderated dialogue and are able to discover their beliefs about specific topics and understand the position of others.

Recognizing the value of this program, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) partnered with the Aspen Institute Socrates Program to co-host a Socrates Salon “The Future of Work and Learning” on October 11-12th. Together they will bring expert leaders to explore how emerging technology trends are impacting education, business and society.

This topic was selected considering that in the last decades technology has dramatically and very quickly changed the way people live, work, and learn all over the world. With this we have also seen challenges around public policy, education, and workforce. At the same time, it is important to recognize that innovation around technology is what is driving many economies' future growth.

Overall it is important for every community to consider the opportunities and challenges presented by an increasingly digital world. Also, leaders need to be thoughtful about how to embrace the benefits that come with new technology while making sure communities stay true to their culture and offers opportunities for all.

New Orleans is no stranger to technology related growth. Our city has increasingly been recognized as one that is home to creators and technology companies such as DXC Technology. Other companies that have chosen our city include Accruent, GE Digital, IBM, Align, and iMerit. This makes New Orleans a great location for the Salon “The Future of Work and Learning” this October. The Salon will examine the ways this city has reinvented itself to welcome inclusive technology companies, entrepreneurship and innovation while being intentional to stay true to its history, culture and people. The moderation will be led by Dr. Connie Yowel, CEO of Collective Shifts, a former policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Education during Bill Clinton´s administration and a former associate professor at the University of Illinois. 


I’m excited that New Orleans will be host of this event and that as a community we have recognized the value of dialogue as a tool for economic progress. Until next time!

FORWARD Symposium

FORWARD Symposium: Enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all.

By Alejandra Guzman

Click aqui para español->FORWARD Symposium

The economic and social success of our community is dependent upon how well we can create balance and promote sustainable practices in the business and public sectors, education, and society in general. To achieve this, we must rely on a foundation of awareness and education on the matter.

Organizations around the world, such as U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), are taking a leading role in these efforts. This organization with an international footprint promotes a movement of community leaders, professionals, businesses and innovators working to accomplish healthy, efficient communities, and to develop equitable buildings.

I have the honor of serving as a board member for the USGBC Louisiana chapter. Our group´s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all.

One of our signature programs is the FORWARD Symposium and for the past three years it has focused on engaging a diverse community of forward thinking leaders who will be key to moving the state towards a more resilient future.

The event is open to USGBC member and non-member business professionals, environmentalists, architects, educators, nonprofit leaders, economic developers, and students. Participants will be able to collaborate and explore what is happening across the state in the subject of sustainability. Among some of the preferred topics for this year will include coastal restoration, LEED for cities, equity as a growth strategy, and healthy communities. Another highlight of the program includes the Women in Sustainability Empower (WISE) Breakfast, which is designed to engage the audience in a robust discussion with prominent female leaders in the field of green building, urban development, community revitalization, and equity and inclusion.

During the symposium participants will also learn about the USGBC Louisiana Green Schools Initiative. This includes a yearly competition in which we encourage schools to undertake a green project to make their school and communities a healthier place to live, learn, and grow. Our objective with this initiative is to bring awareness and educate our youth on the benefits of green building and environmental stewardship by participating in hands-on experimental projects.

During our 2017-2018 cycle, we were able to reach 7,400+ people in 21 parishes and 91 schools across Louisiana. We are excited to continue this work and trust that our programs will help inspire people across our state to act by enabling an environmentally, socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all. To find out more about the FORWARD Symposium visit https://usgbclouisiana.site-ym.com/

 Until next time!

The 3rd Annual FORWARD Symposium will take place on Friday, October 19, 2018 at the Tulane University Lavin-Bernick Center.

FUND 17

Supporting Economic Mobility in New Orleans

By Alejandra Guzmán

Click aqui para español -> FUND 17

Social entrepreneurs pursue social innovation and transformation in different fields such as education, health, environment, and business development. A common factor among them is the pursuit of poverty alleviation and economic mobility through business methods and by the application of innovating alternative solutions in traditional practices.

 As an Economic Developer that believes in equity as a growth strategy and the power of social entrepreneurs, I'm glad that New Orleans is home to organizations promoting these concepts. One of my favorite organizations in this field is Fund 17. Fund 17 is a small, but growing 501c3 non-profit with the goal of turning hustles into livelihoods in the 17 wards of New Orleans.

To get a sense of their relevance, consider that some of the most common barriers for small businesses to scale are lack of access to adequate information, capital, and basic business skills. Fund 17 addresses all of these issues.

The organization provides free training and resources to entrepreneurial community members including one-on-one business development support, workshops, and loan advising. Founded in 2012 as a student-run non-profit, they have grown into a diverse and robust community of entrepreneurs, partners, professionals and students dedicated to creating economic opportunity for all.

The organization has reached more than 200 entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have been served by any traditional organizations in New Orleans. Fund 17 targets the under-served neighborhoods and communities that have the greatest need of finding pathways to economic advancement. Fund 17 has received financial and professional support from international organizations such as KIVA and the Kellogg Foundation. Most recently they were awarded the Next 300 Competition grant by the City of New Orleans.

All of this is a testament to the excellent work that Fund 17 has been doing, and the great potential it has to continue influencing the upward economic mobility of our communities. This year, the organization is in the process of designing a community business incubator that will offer affordable space, equipment, and computers to entrepreneurs. It will also include a food business co-op to facilitate the scaling of businesses in this industry.

This strategy is truly necessary to strengthen neighborhoods that have not benefited from New Orleans overall economic success in the most recent years.

To learn more about Fund 17 and how to support them, visit www.fund17.org. Until next time!

The Pythian

THE PYTHIAN: A development that honors our community´s culture and benefits our economy

By Alejandra Guzmán

Click aqui para español->El Pythian

Historic preservation represents a commitment to honor our history and culture. From an economic-development perspective, historic preservation supports vibrant urban environments that promote commerce, tourism, and other activities that attract investment and promote economic growth. The Pythian building is a great example of this.

The Pythian building was constructed in 1908 as the epicentre for African-American business, community gatherings and cultural expression. Its rooftop hosted numerous social gatherings that witnessed many love stories unfold.

One of them in particular, would later be immortalized through art commissioned by the Pythian building partners. Many years later, the building was used as the hiring office for Higgins Industries. Andrew Higgins, who was described by Dwight D. Eisenhower as “the man who won the war for us”, maintained his office in the building during WWII.

Co-developers of the building, ERG Enterprises, Green Coast Enterprises, and the Crescent City Community Land Trust, identified the historic richness of this building and the value its restoration would bring to the community. Their intentional efforts to preserve the building’s cultural value is evident throughout the building.

 An example of those intentional efforts is displayed within the Pythian Market food hall. Recently commissioned by the developers, this space now eternalizes the portrait of civil right leaders A.P. Tureaud Sr. and his wife Lucille Dejoie through a large mural created by local artist Brandan “B-mike” Odums. A.P. Tureaud and his wife Lucille Dejoie met at the Pythian and dedicated a lifetime to fighting segregation and social injustice in Louisiana.

Dr. Eric George of ERG Enterprises stated, “Brandan’s depiction of A.P. and Lucille is a wonderful representation of all the different stories of love, history, and culture that took place in the building. The contemporary form was an excellent present-day tribute to such a rich history”.

Visitors to the Pythian Market food hall will also experience a taste of our community´s diverse and rich culture through a great selection of international cuisines. I look forward to seeing additional development in our city that proves to be beneficial to our community´s culture and our local economy. Until next time!

Twitter @aleguzman

A Holistic Economic Development Approach that Trascends Time

A Holistic Economic Development Approach that Trascends Time

By Alejandra Guzman Cooper

Click para español->Enfoque Holistico del Desarrollo Economico que trasciende en el Tiempo

A HOLISTIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT APPROACH THAT TRASCENDS TIME

Economic development promotes well-being, enhances quality of life, and provides opportunities to develop human potential.

Creating the right conditions is a complex task that requires the participation of various sectors within our community, and a holistic and deliberate approach that should be focused on people.

This holistic approach to economic development recognizes that there are participants who interact and work together within a system. Businesses and other sources of employment, the workforce, and infrastructure are some of these participants. Although they function independently, their continuous collaboration and interaction is required for their combined development.

Economic development matters only to the extent that it touches and changes the lives of all citizens. Cities that succeed in attracting financial and human capital acquire the ability to expand access to economic opportunity for their residents.

It is important to consider that development requires intentional action from multiple generations to allow change and opportunities to reach all communities.

Fortunately, there are economic development organizations dedicating their efforts to accomplishing this very task, and the New Orleans Business Alliance is an example of such organizations.

The New Orleans Business Alliance, NOLABA, was established in 2010 as the official economic development partnership for New Orleans. NOLABA's goal was to allow for long-term visions for the city to develop and for the work that goes into realizing them to transcend administrations.

With the inauguration of Mayor LaToya Cantrell on May 7th, 2018, the mission of NOLABA has taken full effect.

Within the context of this administrative transition, NOLABA will host The State of the New Orleans Economy Address, featuring a keynote from the new Mayor of New Orleans. Mayor Cantrell will share her plan to create an inclusive, equitable economic environment that will allow for New Orleans's growth and will benefit residents in all neighborhoods. The event is open to the public. You can learn more about the event by visiting www.nolaba.org.

Until next time!

Alejandra Guzmán

Twitter @aleguzman

The New Orleans State of the Economy hosted by NOLABA will be postponed to later this year. More information on the new date will be posted via nolaba.org

 

New Orleans, leader and home for best practices

New Orleans, leader and home for best practices

By Alejandra Guzmán

Click para español - New Orleans-Líder y sede de mejores prácticas económicas

When great minds meet, we can expect great ideas to happen. This is why NOLABA, the official economic development agency for the city of New Orleans, has developed a series of events to create social and intellectual settings that connect bright minds from the academic, private and public sectors. 

NOLABA expects to elevate the conversation and find solutions to some of our city’s most pressing issues. Also, through these events, New Orleans will be able to position itself as a city of thought leaders and a home to best practices in economic development. 

The first event within the series will be the Vanguard conference September 12-15, 2018. NOLABA will cohost the conference alongside Next City, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change to improve cities around the world. 

Solving challenges is a multidisciplinary endeavor, which is why leaders with different backgrounds will be selected to participate. About 800 participants have been part of past Vanguard conferences, and they all bring a wide variety of experiences. 

The conference will include workshops, tours and conversations about trends to solve relevant issues around creating better cities. Participants will also have the opportunity to work with organizations to solve local challenges. 

The program will culminate with the Next City Big Idea Challenge where a winning idea will be selected and implemented in New Orleans in the following year. 

Applications for the 2018 Vanguard conference are open until May 31. The application fee is $35, but a reduced early bird fee of $25 is available until April 21st. Visit nolaba.org for more information.

 

 

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Publisher's Note

As the holiday season approaches the first thing on my mind is "I can't believe the year is almost over!"

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