GNO Inc. Named Economic Development Organization of the Year
NEW ORLEANS — From Greater New Orleans Inc.:
On Sept. 20, the International Economic Development Council selected Greater New Orleans Inc. as the Economic Development Organization of the Year, with a “Gold” designation for communities over 500,000 residents. This global award was distributed during the organization’s 2022 Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, and is the highest organizational honor given during IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards.
“Winning Economic Development Organization of the Year is a testament to the dedication and work of many,” said Michael Hecht, GNO Inc. president and CEO. “The staff, board, NextGen Council, investors, economic development partners, educational partners, elected leaders and community all share in the responsibility and credit for this recognition.”
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. The “Gold” rank for 2022 EDO of the Year is given to the leading economic development organization demonstrating goals and objectives, program innovation and continuity, leadership quality and consistency, performance benchmarks and measured metrics, and community interaction and impact.
“The GNO Inc. team and all of the organization’s partners and stakeholders should feel incredibly proud of this remarkable honor of being named the Best EDO in the World,” said Richard Cortizas, GNO Inc. board chair. “This award recognizes the hard work GNO Inc. is performing in order to transform and grow the region’s economy. Collectively, we all benefit from the new business opportunities and jobs that are created by their leadership in our region.”
In selecting GNO Inc. for this honor, the IEDC judges were given the opportunity to learn more about numerous accomplishments that the organization has achieved over the past year, including:
- Completed 12 expansion and relocation projects totaling 1,044 direct jobs and $664M in investment
- Won the federal EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge for H2theFuture, a strategy to decarbonize Louisiana’s industrial corridor – one of only 4% of national winners
- Launched the NOLA Coalition, to help improve public safety and invest in youth, now with over 400 members
- Passed historic tax reform legislation, taking Louisiana from #25 to #4 lowest income tax rates
- Pioneered the HBCU Startup Internship initiative, a paid program to introduce BIPOC students to entrepreneurship
- Created the GNOwind Alliance, with over 150 members, to develop the Offshore Wind cluster in Louisiana
- Worked with Microsoft to create Game Camp, a five-month intensive program for Louisiana residents to learn programming
- Saw $2.5B of exits of companies that GNO, Inc. helped grow, including Lucid ($1.1B), and Levelset ($500M), and developed StartupNOLA.com to promote entrepreneurship
- Relaunched the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance, a national organization for flood insurance reform for Louisiana and the nation
- After Hurricane Ida, served as a primary information source for the business community, and launched GNO Power Match to help businesses find generators
- Launched StudyNOLA, a website to showcase the region’s higher education community
- Selected by the State as the Region 1 STEM Center to promote STEM workforce development and industry engagement with education
“I see firsthand the incredible work that the staff, volunteers and investors put into the programs within GNO Inc to advance our region,” said Josie Delaune, chair of the GNO Inc. NextGen Council. “It is energizing to see this work rewarded in such a prestigious way, and I’m confident the energy will lead to many more awesome accomplishments.”
Louisiana Economic Development also was awarded “Best in Show” by the International Economic Development Council. This award is the top honor presented at the event and is given to the EDO who has exhibited overall excellence in all areas of economic development.