Letter from the President

Port Mh


Season’s greetings!

People ask me all the time, “How are things going?”

Despite the many challenges of the past year, once I start talking about the wins Greater New Orleans is tallying, I find it hard to stop. Looking back, 2021 has been a remarkably productive year.

In Business Development, GNO, Inc. and partners helped bring in over 1,000 new jobs and over $660M in investment in a range of projects including video game company Possibility Space, manufacturing firm Laitram, a bio-project at Chalmette Refining, and even a new airline, Breeze Airways, that placed an operations hub at MSY.

It was also a remarkable year for entrepreneurship at GNO, Inc., with over a dozen companies enjoying lucrative exits, including Levelset for $500M and Lucid for $1.1B, our region’s first “unicorn” (a startup valued at over $1B). Many of these companies were supported by GNO, Inc. and the GNO, Inc. nonprofit investment spin-off, the New Orleans Startup Fund.

Public Policy enjoyed a landmark year, with passage of legislation and a constitutional amendment that will lower Louisiana’s state income taxes, to the fourth-lowest in America. The Wall Street Journal called this change “Louisiana’s Tax Reform Breakthrough.”

GNO, Inc.’s workforce efforts continued to grow, with the successful launch of the GNO, Inc. HBCU Startup Internship Program to encourage more entrepreneurs of color, and the launch of the next cohort of the “GNOu” Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program, a German-style work/study initiative.

GNO, Inc. ended the year by being one of only 11% of applicants selected by the Department of Commerce as a finalist for a national $100M grant program for innovative cluster growth. GNO, Inc. is managing a coalition of over 30 partners in an effort to make South Louisiana a leader in the energy transition, based on offshore wind power and the production of green hydrogen for industrial use.

There’s much more, but let me end here, and simply give thanks: to the remarkable staff of GNO, Inc., the supportive Board, our generous investors, and all of you who make our progress possible.



Michael Hecht

GNO, Inc. President & CEO