This week, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) is celebrating the Annual Economic Development Week. What is economic development? It is a question we are asked regularly. A quick Google search will yield boundless results. The International Economic Development Council defines the term as a program, group of policies, or activity that seeks to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life for a community.
For us at SBEDF, we approach our work as a set of objectives that are guided by the opportunities, desires, and needs of our community. Our mission is simple: to retain and create jobs, build prosperity, and improve quality of life in St. Bernard Parish.
As home to one of the highest density of locally-owned small businesses, we spend significant bandwidth on cultivating and nurturing this community by offering hands-on tools and programs including Grow St. Bernard, Startup St. Bernard, and Working on the Water. The Parish is also fortunate to have several large employers. Not only do these drivers of the economy employ our citizens, they also attract new residents and local spending from outside purchasing power at our retail stores and restaurants. SBEDF’s Business Retention and Expansion program is designed to retain these jobs, and ultimately grow employment prospects.
At SBEDF, we also believe there is room for a few more drivers. We call it swinging for the fences. By working with local land owners, we aggressively search out large developments and respond to internationally competitive Request for Proposals. The jewel of these efforts was creating the first-ever Louisiana Economic Development certified site in St. Bernard, a prestigious designation that labels a property “turn-key” for potential developers.
And finally, we aim to improve quality of life by adding amenities to the Parish and increasing tax revenues for public services. We are working tirelessly to ensure St. Bernard is front of mind for any retailer, hotel, or developer expanding in Southeast Louisiana, and we are helping put the Parish on the radar in the long-term growth plans of countless stores.
SBEDF’s mission is the roadmap towards our vision: helping St. Bernard reach its full potential of being a world class community in which to live, work, and play. Success looks like strengthening core industries, growing new sectors and entrepreneurship, developing future business leaders, and improving quality of life. Our success is only possible with the help of St. Bernard Parish Government, our Board of Directors, our corporate contributors, staff, and strong-knit community. We can’t wait to keep winning with you. Onward and upward!
Andrew P. Jacques