NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Don Pierson announced Louisiana will host the 14th American Competitiveness Exchange from Nov. 6-12. ACE is the premier economic development, innovation and entrepreneurial network of the Americas and a leading initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS). International delegates will engage with Louisiana’s cutting-edge research institutions, entrepreneurial hubs, foreign trade zones and world-class business sites during the tour. ACE serves as an opportunity for Louisiana to enhance its presence across many industries and global markets.
“I believe the value of this unique opportunity cannot be overstated,” said Pierson. “ACE will bring international attention to Louisiana’s rapidly growing excellence within industries, such as bioscience, logistics, water management, renewable energy and more. LED and Team Louisiana look forward to welcoming the international delegation and demonstrating the unique assets and best practices behind Louisiana’s rise to the top as an international business destination. We have an impressive story to communicate to these leaders from across the globe.”
Organized by OAS, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, ACE Louisiana will bring together 50 senior-level government, business and economic decision-makers from across the Americas and beyond. They will experience regional partnerships, strategic investments and signature projects from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Discussions during the event will focus on Louisiana’s innovative approach to economic development and the state’s record of resilience in the wake of disasters. The tour will highlight recommendations of the Resilient Louisiana Commission’s 2020 report.
“The New Orleans Business Alliance is delighted to partner with the State of Louisiana, regional partners and the local community to showcase our city to our hemisphere neighbors. We are most fortunate to welcome ACE to our city,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., New Orleans Business Alliance president & CEO. “As the economic development organization for New Orleans, NOLABA seeks opportunities for inclusive and meaningful economic growth that changes residents’ lives. ACE symbolizes a return to what we do best: welcome leaders from around the world to conduct business in the most inspiring of places, New Orleans. New Orleans thrives when we welcome individuals from all over the world to connect, grow and celebrate together.”
Leaders are carefully selected for participation in the weeklong ACE program and are encouraged to explore economic development models; share experiences and knowledge; build networks to enhance competitiveness in the Americas; promote sustainable and inclusive economic development models; and increase trade and investment opportunities.
“Our vision is that ACE Louisiana will complement the ‘melting pot of innovation’ in Lafayette and the state by welcoming new ideas and applying them to the rich talent and leading-edge strategies already in place here,” said Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. “The Opportunity Machine’s new Innovation Center is just one of the many sites ACE attendees will visit as they learn how Lafayette continues to be a national energy hub while stimulating entrepreneurial growth across high-tech sectors.”
Since 2014, ACE has convened in the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico and Canada. Delegates have spurred new international research partnerships, exchanges of best practices to solve common issues, new investment and trade agreements, and greater collaboration across the Americas — outcomes that Louisiana leaders intend to emulate.
“As we continue to position New Orleans as the go-to research and innovation hub of the Gulf, we are pleased to welcome the ACE delegation to our community to explore the wide range of opportunities for collaboration and investment here,” said Greater New Orleans, Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht. “With our low-cost, high-culture market, New Orleans stands ready to foster the growth of innovative ventures both local and global.”
The opportunity to host ACE’s economic leaders resulted from a successful bid by “Team Louisiana,” composed of Louisiana Economic Development, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Greater New Orleans, Inc., the New Orleans Business Alliance, Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, New Orleans & Company, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, and other public- and private-sector leaders in the region.
“Team Louisiana’s bid was selected from a highly competitive pool of applications from nations and regions throughout the world for this ministerial-level engagement activity,” said Kris Khalil, BioFund managing director and executive director of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. “We are thrilled to be able to showcase Louisiana’s entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as provide those same individuals and companies opportunities to foster and develop partnerships with business and policy leaders from across the Americas.”
More information about ACE Louisiana — including sites and focus areas — will be released as plans are finalized. Programming will be subject to change, based upon COVID-19 guidelines in place during the visit, to ensure the safety of attendees and host communities. For more information on the ACE program, visit http://riacevents.org/ACE/.