NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo has announced that the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of its “Build to Scale” program. NOLABA will use the funding to support the creation of a community investment fund where community members can invest alongside larger institutional investors and take equity stakes in growing companies and local development projects that will prove impactful to the New Orleans economy.
The “Build to Scale” program, which is administered annually by the EDA, aims to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to business support capital. These investments support aerospace, agtech, blue economy, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and health technology clusters in regions throughout the U.S. and will lead to stronger, more resilient economies across the country.
“EDA is proud to support this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they fuel regional innovation hubs throughout the country,” said Secretary Castillo. “Investing in scalable startups and creating access to capital will yield more economic opportunities and support the next generation of industry-leading companies. This is the type of vital work that President Biden’s build back better agenda promises to continue to support.”
NOLABA was one of 50 organizations from 26 states — including nonprofits, higher education institutions, state government agencies, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations — that received grants totaling $36.5 million to support programs that fuel innovation and tech-based economic development. The organization, whose mission is encapsulated by its tagline – “Culture. Equity. Prosperity.” – is actively working to help solve the lack of local venture capital funding in support of enterprises started or owned by black and indigenous people of color.
“We’re honored to have received this award, which is an acknowledgment of our work to further economic growth here in New Orleans,” said Interim President & CEO Norman E. Barnum, IV. “The ‘Build to Scale’ program is one step toward creating unity and tying together local community, business, public and private efforts to help our entrepreneurs grow their companies and neighborhoods – all of which will add to our tax base and economy. We all need to be involved in this work together. This is the beginning of the new New Orleans.”