Maybe that’s part of the reason why this year is off to such an exciting start. Just three months into 2017, we’ve released a new plan to improve the Jefferson Parish housing stock, unveiled an updated website with new features, celebrated a grand opening for a business project we financed, and hosted our fifth annual Jefferson Parish-based pitch competition for local startups. And those are just a few of the things we’ve been working on. There’s plenty more to come for the remaining nine months of 2017 and we are thrilled to continue our work in Jefferson!
District Donuts.Sliders.Brew, which sells specialtydonuts, sliders, and coffee at multiple locations in New Orleans, has become a powerhouse in the local restaurant industry since it first opened back in 2013. In March, JEDCO celebrated the popular restaurant’s official entrance into the Jefferson Parish market. JEDCO helped finance the purchase and renovation of District’s first Jefferson Parish location in Elmwood. Welcome to Jefferson, guys!
In January, JEDCO released its Housing Stock Enhancement Strategic Plan to address weaknesses in the Parish’s current housing options. A team of professionals with diverse backgrounds put their heads together over a six-month period in 2016 to develop the plan, a multi-faceted approach to meet the housing needs of existing and future residents in Jefferson Parish. The plan confronts the Parish’s challenges and establishes a strategy to revitalize its existing housing stock, foster development of needed housing choices, and improve the quality of life in Jefferson Parish neighborhoods. Recommendations outlined in the plan will be initiated over a three-year period.
The Sounds of Progress
Construction began early this year on the Delgado Community College River City Campus and Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in the Churchill Technology & Business Park. For days, the park was filled with the sounds of piles being driven into the ground. Officials anticipate the school will be open by August 2018 and will accommodate up to 3,000 students.
Five years ago, we launched the JEDCO Challenge powered by First NBC Bank, a pitch competition for early-stage ventures with ties to Jefferson Parish, which we host during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The goal? To elevate opportunities for these startups while also providing education about the resources available to them in Jefferson. The Challenge has grown into a premier event for our Parish and we’ve had the pleasure to work with a number of very successful startups: MobileQubes, AxoSim, Jambalaya Girl, InnoGenomics Technologies, ICONIC, Scandy, Mashball, Bhoomi Cane Water, and the list goes on.
This year, we featured startups in a variety of industries and they were fantastic! Southern City Farm (our second place winner) grows fresh, quality produce out of a warehouse in Elmwood and works with some of the top chefs and restaurants in the region. BioAesthetics is revolutionizing reconstruction options for breast cancer survivors. IDIYA is forging the path for a new wave of manufacturers. Drone Party Planet took a popular hobby and turned it into an event service.
Our winner, Chosen Diagnostics, developed a test that provides early diagnosis of a deadly gastrointestinal disease threatening the lives of premature babies. Sunyoung Kim, the company’s founder, says the test can save lives and decrease medical costs for families. She walked away with $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind services to grow her company and our team walked away feeling inspired by the drive and vision of these forward-thinking innovators. We are so excited to do this all over again next year.