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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

Florida, Alabama and Louisiana Receive Federal Funds to Support Job Creation and Economic Growth

WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced nearly $2 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) investments to support economic recovery efforts in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana one year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Commerce Department announced $1.85 million in assistance to Louisiana and Texas earlier this week.

"The Gulf Coast region has faced remarkable challenges that have significantly impacted local businesses," Locke said. "These grants are another sign of this administration's commitment to help the Gulf Coast's economy and environment recover in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

EDA will award $1 million to Florida's Great Northwest, Inc. of Destin, Fla., to help the region implement a strategic business outreach program to strengthen the local economy. Florida businesses have faced significant challenges because of the economic downtown and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While more than 2 million small businesses fuel the state's economy, it continues to struggle to attract new companies and new investments.

To support Alabama's Gulf Coast region, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation in Birmingham, Ala., will receive $593,000 to help create a strategic economic development plan that will more efficiently guide local recovery initiatives.

"This project will connect the economic development entities, universities, and business leaders from across the state to the immediacy of the needs on the Gulf Coast, and to use this work as a learning model for future work in all Alabama communities," said Angela Wier, Vice President of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation.

EDA will also make a $400,000 investment to the newly formed New Orleans Startup Fund of Louisiana to promote small business development. The grant will help launch an entrepreneur-focused strategy and operational plan to better serve entrepreneurs in the region.

"The New Orleans Startup Fund is designed to increase the number of high-growth potential startups in our region by providing capital and technical assistance to pre-seed stage companies with scalable business models," said Ralph Maurer, Executive Director, New Orleans Startup Fund. "Seeding high-growth companies is important because these kinds of companies create high-quality jobs and reinforce clusters of activity in regional areas of specialty such as biotech, education and clean energy. The founders and employees of high-growth companies also tend to be serial entrepreneurs, founding and investing in new companies as opportunities emerge. In short, the potential impact of the Startup Fund is exponential."

On Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department's CommerceConnect launched a Gulf Coast initiative as part of a national effort to extend business assistance resources to communities across the country. The unique project will assist businesses and entrepreneurs in the region in three strategic ways, through: direct business assistance in five Gulf Coast cities; the development of robust partner networks that connect federal, state and local resources from both the public and private sectors; and the integration of government-wide federal resources. The CommerceConnect network includes a growing contingent of cross-trained specialists across the country, a national call center and a web portal that serve as added resources for U.S. businesses as they work to grow and boost their global competitiveness.