If You Give a Fisherman a Loan..
JEDCO is driving growth in Jefferson Parish, including with a first-of-its-kind loan program for commercial fishermen.
Over the last 36 years, JEDCO has proudly served the Jefferson Parish business community by building a resilient, equitable, diverse and competitive economy. JEDCO has pulled billions of dollars in investment into Jefferson while creating valuable partnerships that deliver game-changing initiatives for the entire region. It is JEDCO’s innovative approach to economic development that has helped Jefferson Parish become a hub for innovation and a destination for national and international business.
JEDCO takes a holistic approach to driving economic growth in the area. Our team takes a global look while also advancing acute initiatives that support quality of life, workforce development and growth in targeted industry clusters. For JEDCO, progress looks like creating jobs, investment and opportunities at every level, from attracting sustainable businesses focused on the future to dedicating resources toward some of the region’s most iconic industries.
Focus on the Fishermen
In Jefferson Parish, commercial fishermen and businesses in the seafood industry are key players in the regional and statewide economy. Despite the economic and cultural significance of the local seafood industry, it remains underserved. A pandemic, hurricanes and the increase in access to imported seafood have all served to adversely impact the local fishing communities, creating significant barriers for businesses that were already experiencing disadvantages in profitability.
In response to these severe challenges and as part of a long-term strategy to preserve the commercial fishing industry in Jefferson Parish, JEDCO launched the Seafood Enterprise Assistance (SEA) Fund. Tailored to meet the specific needs of commercial fishermen and fisheries-related industries, the SEA Fund is one of the only loan programs in existence providing commercial fishermen with access to capital and loan repayment terms that align with their unique seasonality. Since its launch in 2022, JEDCO has financed nine SEA Fund projects for nearly $700,000.
Last year, we secured a $115,000 Technical Assistance Grant from Louisiana Economic Development to further assist seafood businesses through business retention meetings, industry partnerships, business attraction, supply chain development, marketing and events. Since obtaining this infusion of capital, JEDCO has entered into agreements with several consulting groups to connect with local fishermen and explore economic development projects that might create jobs for and add value to the seafood industry. The team has met with dozens of business owners in local fishing communities to assess needs and provide support.
Progress continues to be made in Churchill Park, a 480-acre project based on the West Bank. Born out of the first iteration of the Jefferson EDGE, Jefferson Parish’s long-term economic development strategic plan, the park is envisioned to become a vibrant, mixed-use destination that embraces resilient and sustainable design, and will serve as the heart of the surrounding area.
Recently, the JEDCO board approved the Churchill Park Strategic Business Plan, which calls for the construction of a multi-tenant office building, the first of its kind in the area. Companies driving innovation in EV battery technology, culinary products, and R&D have shown extreme interest in the site. That, coupled with expanded educational and workforce development offerings from anchor tenants Delgado River City and Louisiana’s No. 1 ranked public school, Patrick F. Taylor Academy, show that Churchill is primed to become a hub for industry, economic growth and high-paying jobs.
These projects are just a small sampling of the work being done by JEDCO and key community leaders to advance development and success in Jefferson Parish. As the economic engine of the region, Jefferson Parish is poised for long-term progress and prosperity.
Jerry Bologna has served as president and CEO of JEDCO since 2013. Learn more about JEDCO at JEDCO.org.