|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||4||$1,360,570|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||2||$999,959|
The Louisiana coast faces the highest rate of sea-level rise worldwide. At this rate, it is estimated that New Orleans will be underwater by the year 2100. Over the next 50 years, inaction will cost the Greater New Orleans community nearly $8 billion in storm water flood damage, $2.2 billion in subsidence damage, and $600 million in avoidable insurance costs. Louisiana comprises only 40% of our nation’s wetlands, but it accounts for 90% of its losses, losing a football field of land every hour.
With assistance from EDA, one New Orleans-based nonprofit meeting this challenge head on. Founded in 2009, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (“Propeller”) helps launch social and environmental ventures to address local challenges. On August 29, 2015, 10 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the city, EDA awarded $300,000 to support the Water Accelerator program, a regional entrepreneurship initiative dedicated to building the city’s water industry cluster. The EDA-funded program will provide business consulting services, technical assistance, mentoring, and other resources as needed to facilitate the growth of an estimated 10 to 20 businesses looking to address regional coastal and urban water issues, especially as it relates to coastal restoration, urban water retention and quality, maritime industries and ports, and fisheries. The accelerator program will culminate in a Water Challenge Day that will highlight regional companies in the water cluster for potential investors.
Additionally, Propeller will use this grant to convene 10-15 workshops, panels, or events to connect regional members of the water clusters with key stakeholders, perform outreach with cluster firms and industry associations to determine best practices to ensure cluster growth, and undertake data collection and analysis to guide future initiatives designed to increase the region's competitiveness.