NEW ORLEANS – 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 have announced plans to launch a joint program, the “Resilient Corridors Initiative,” to provide financial support to these 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 technical assistance 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 will invest $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 several other community organizations, including:
- Algiers Economic Development Foundation (AEDF)
- Dillard Community Development Corporation
- Earhart Blvd. Business Association
- Hollygrove-Dixon Community Development Corporation
- C. Haley Blvd. Merchant Association
- Mary Queen Vietnam Community Development Corporation
- New Orleans East Focus Group
- Old Algiers Main Street
- Sankofa Community Development Corporation
- Ujamaa Economic Development Corporation
The projects will include business retention, attraction, and placemaking activities intended to increase the economic vitality of these important New Orleans neighborhoods, benefiting the surrounding residents they serve.
NOLABA will hold a virtual information session for small businesses interested in applying for the grants on Tuesday, October 20, at 1 PM. Registration information can be found here.
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. NOLABA will begin accepting applications on Wednesday, October 21, via its website. The deadline for submitting applications is November 9, and participants in the pilot program will be selected by November 18.
40 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, business viability, and how the business intends to use grant funding and technical assistance.
An application page with additional information on the program will be available on NOLABA’s website at nolaba.org next week.