(AVONDALE, La) – The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) celebrated the grand opening of the new JEDCO Finance Center on Friday. JEDCO was joined by local elected officials and key economic development partners to unveil the state-of-the-art facility. The JEDCO Finance Center houses JEDCO’s award-winning, high-performing Finance Department.
JEDCO offers three creative, non-traditional financing options to provide strategic opportunities for small businesses in Jefferson Parish and across the state. The JEDCO Growth (JEDgrow) Loan Program is specifically designed to support small, growing businesses in Jefferson Parish. Offered statewide, the SBA 504 Program presents fixed-rate financing and a borrower equity requirement as low as 10%. JEDCO’s newest loan program, the Seafood Enterprise Assistance (SEA) Fund, is a financing tool for commercial fishermen and business owners in the fishing and seafood industry.
The JEDCO Development Corporation, JEDCO’s financing arm, approved 35 new loans in 2021. This year, JEDCO has already approved 20 loans. To meet the growing demand for small business financing, JEDCO added new team members to the finance department. The organization used federal funds from the EDA CARES Act to renovate and redesign surplus office space within the JEDCO Complex. The new JEDCO Finance Center houses six new offices, an open floor plan for brainstorming and meetings, and a conference room.
Led by JEDCO Finance Director Jennifer Lapeyrouse, JEDCO’s Finance Department funded over $4.2 million in new business projects for an economic impact of over $6 million in 2021. Seventy-four percent of funded loans were for woman-owned and/or minority-owned, controlled, and operated businesses. Twenty-six percent of all funded loans were for true startups. The JEDCO Development Corporation was ranked a top 20 SBA lender statewide last year.
“The official grand opening of the JEDCO Finance Center provides this organization with an opportunity to better serve our business community,” said JEDCO President & CEO Jerry Bologna. “In this new facility, JEDCO’s high-performing Finance Department can help small businesses start up and grow organically in Jefferson Parish and, in some cases, in communities across Louisiana. From this vibrant space, our team will continue to prioritize equitable financing solutions that elevate many of our businesses, especially woman and minority owned enterprises, a mission that brings us great pride. We are honored to celebrate with our many partners and look forward to maintaining the quality and impact that all have come to expect from JEDCO.”
“The JEDCO Finance Center is an asset to growing Jefferson Parish businesses,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. “I commend the JEDCO Finance Team for the impactful work they do for small businesses in Jefferson Parish. Their work helps many of our entrepreneurs achieve dreams of business ownership and growth in our community. We are proud to celebrate the grand opening of this beautiful new facility.”
“I am happy and excited to support JEDCO as they celebrate the opening of the JEDCO Finance Center,” said District 3 Councilman Byron Lee. “The JEDCO Finance Team has a long-lasting impact on small businesses, creating an environment in which companies that are just starting out can grow and thrive in Jefferson Parish. We are very proud of their mission to lift-up and finance minority-owned and women-owned businesses. This new facility allows them to continue to expand their reach and their work in our community. It is a big win for Jefferson Parish.”
JEDCO hosted the grand opening celebration in coordination with Churchill sPark, an open house celebration to kick off Economic Development Week and showcase Churchill Technology and Business Park as an economic and community asset. JEDCO featured local food trucks, music, outdoor games, and tours of the JEDCO complex. JEDCO borrowers Crawlins Seafood, Yakuza House, and LeBrane’s Creole Cuisine participated in the event, offering samples of their most popular dishes. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, the JEDCO team held a ribbon tying to commemorate the occasion. The organization brought two ribbons to the center of the JEDCO complex to connect the two buildings together. You can watch the ribbon tying here.
For more information about JEDCO’s loan programs, visit JEDCO.org/loans.