NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City officials and philanthropic and small business leaders to announce the launch of the BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund, a pilot loan fund to provide contract financing and mobilization capital for local small businesses and contractors. The BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund will specifically help those local small businesses and contractors that have demonstrated the technical capacity to perform work for the City but do not have the cash on-hand required to handle unpredictable payment schedules of public sector work. This initiative is possible with the generous support of NewCorp, Living Cities and the Foundation for Louisiana.
“BuildNOLA takes our Economic Opportunity Strategy to the next level by helping our local small businesses and contractors take part in our city’s growth,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We’re committed to connecting our disadvantaged job seekers and local small business to real jobs and strategic opportunities by creating pathways to prosperity. The prosperity being enjoyed by some must be available to all because we can’t leave anyone behind. The BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund could not be possible without the generous support of committed partners Living Cities and NewCorp.”
BuildNOLA Training Program
In October 2015, The Network for Economic Opportunity, through the City’s Office of Supplier Diversity, launched BuildNOLA, an eight-week training program to help prepare local small and disadvantaged businesses to more effectively compete for public and private contracts. The program expands the city’s pool of competitive and qualified bidders and maximize contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). The BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund is in line with Mayor Landrieu’s Economic Opportunity Strategy – a comprehensive effort to connect disadvantaged job seekers and small businesses to real jobs and strategic opportunities by working to ensure every resident can take part in the city’s economic growth through partnerships with local training providers, social service agencies and community advocates.
To date, four cohorts of small and disadvantaged businesses have successfully completed the BuildNOLA training program to participate for City-sponsored projects through the City’s Capital Projects Administration, the City’s Department of Public Works and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.
BuildNOLA is already delivering results with $3.2 million in contract dollars awarded to program graduates, 21 contracts awarded to program graduates, 100 percent of contracts have been awarded to African-American owned firms and 27 new jobs have been created after program completion.
BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund
Through the BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and The Network for Economic Opportunity have organized resources to pilot a loan fund that provides contract financing and mobilization capital for small contractors that have demonstrated the technical capacity to perform City work but do not have the cash on-hand required to handle unpredictable payment schedules of public sector work. The BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund has been established in partnership with NewCorp, Living Cities and Foundation for Louisiana.
Phase 1 of the BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund involves a $1.5 million mini-mobilization pilot loan fund to meet the need for mobilization and contract finance capital and test the ability of the fund to address the need. Living Cities will invest $1.25 million in loan funds. NewCorp will invest $250,000 in remaining Small Business Assistance Funds. This mini-mobilization fund will begin accepting applications Nov. 1 and pre-qualify firms for contract financing. Certified DBE firms can apply at NewCorp, 2924 St. Bernard Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119.
Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation of Living Cities, said, “Local hiring and contracting requirements paired with support for small and disadvantaged businesses has become a cornerstone for rebuilding the American economy, one community at a time. Living Cities is proud to support the extraordinary efforts of New Orleans’ local private, public, nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to change the economic trajectory of its citizens long excluded from economic opportunity.”
If the pilot loan fund is successful, the City, in partnership with Living Cities and Foundation for Louisiana, will raise capital for a $10 million loan fund, of which $8 million will be from private banks and $2 million will be from City and philanthropic funds.
Otis Tucker Jr., owning of Trucking Innovation, LLC and graduate of the Summer 2016 BuildNOLA class, said “Thanks to BuildNOLA, I’ve learned how to properly bid, estimate and respond to the bidding process. BuildNOLA has inspired me to continue learning so that I can develop a more strategic and competitive bidding and estimating process to grow my business.”
Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy
Launched in September 2014, the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy connects disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities. As part of the strategy, the Network for Economic Opportunity revised the city’s DBE policy and introduced a new local hire ordinance known as Hire NOLA. Click here to see more on the Network.
To sign up for the program, New Orleans residents are encouraged to visit www.thenetworkneworleans.org.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collaborative of 18 leading foundations and financial institutions (including the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, among others) committed to improving economic opportunity for low income people in America’s cities. Over the years, our unique mix of assets—grants, loans, partnerships and knowledge—has helped to build hundreds of thousands of homes, grocery stores, and schools; shape billions of dollars in local and federal funding programs; and improve the lives of millions of low-income people. The leaders of these participating institutions not only fund us, they sit on our governance board and partner with us towards solutions.