Press Releases

JEDCO & Jefferson Chamber to host seminar on crowdfunding, angel investment, and gap financing

(METAIRIE, La) — As small business owners and entrepreneurs know, access to capital plays an important role in the success of the company. Understanding your financing options (both traditional and non-traditional) and learning about the best ways to connect with investors can help with everything from hiring new employees and securing enough inventory to meet the demands of your consumers to purchasing a new building or equipment as your company expands.

As part of the ongoing Prosper Jefferson series, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and the Jefferson Chamber have teamed up to bring you a seminar on a variety of lending and investment options available in the Greater New Orleans region to help your business grow. Join our lending experts as they cover topics such as:

  • Angel Investment
  • Crowdfunding
  • Financing options available through JEDCO
  • How to prep for a meeting with investors/lenders

Join us Wednesday, February 24th, at the JEDCO Conference Center (701A Churchill Parkway, Fairfield, LA 70094) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Admission is FREE. This event is open to all businesses and entrepreneurs. Please register online in advance at

Meet Our Speakers

Mike Eckert; NO/LA Angel Network Chairman

Originally from Chicago where he began his professional career in media and media technology, Mike’s career brought him to New York City and Atlanta. He was on the launch team of The Weather Channel and served as its President and CEO. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Pathfire, a technology start-up that became a leading provider of digital media and asset management capabilities to large media companies. In the summer of 2013 Mike moved to New Orleans to be closer to family.He has been, an active angel investor, angel group leader and LP in venture capital funds since the late 1990s. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the national Angel Capital Association, serving as Chair of its Public Policy Committee and of its Strategic Planning Activities; is Chairman of the NO/LA Angel Network, and is a member of the Investment Committee of the New Orleans Start-Up Fund. Prior to moving to New Orleans Mike was Chairman of the Atlanta Technology Angels, a top ten angel investment group nationally.

Kenneth Walsh, Ph.D.; Associate Professor at UNO

Kenneth R. Walsh is an Associate Professor in Department of Management, Marketing, and Information Systems Group at University of New Orleans. Kenneth recently authored a book on crowdfunding. Called “Dockside: Kim & Eric Embrace Crowdfunding to Realize Dreams,” is a how-to book on successful crowdfunding.

Before returning to academia, Dr. Walsh was a Senior Systems Analyst at Exxon Corporation, where he developed database software for oil well support, maintenance, and other management applications. He received a Ph.D. in Information System from the University of Arizona in 1996. His research has been published in Information & Management, Communications of the ACM, and a number of other information systems journals. His research interests include network computing models, structured modeling group support systems (SM-GSS), Internet support for education, and applications of virtual reality technology. Dr. Walsh has taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in a wide variety of management information systems courses.

Alberto Queral, JEDCO Director of Finance

Alberto was hired by JEDCO in 1995 in the capacity of Commercial Loan Officer. He was eventually promoted to his current capacity of Director of Financing. Prior to his employment at JEDCO, Alberto worked within the banking industry for approximately 15 years, where he developed commercial banking experience, including both consumer and commercial lending. Alberto is primarily responsible for the lending function at JEDCO and management of the finance staff. He is also fully bilingual in English and Spanish, a skill that allows him to serve the Parish’s Spanish speaking constituency.

The JEDCO finance program provides loans for acquisition of fixed assets, working capital and initial inventory for Jefferson Parish-based businesses, both new and established. The program has the ultimate objective of promoting economic development and job creation / retention activity in Jefferson Parish. A JEDCO loan accomplishes what is commonly referred to as “gap” financing, as these loans provide terms and conditions that are ordinarily not available conventionally.

Alberto has also completed courses in financial accounting, management, economics, business and other general studies while following a business administration curriculum at UNO. He graduated from Leadership Jefferson, a program of the Jefferson Chamber. Until 2014 he assisted and lectured students from UNO’s ExCel course, a business program with the purpose of preparing persons with disabilities from across Louisiana start businesses.