(AVONDALE, La) – The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) received a $1.5 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide critical gap financing that will help small Jefferson Parish businesses grow, thrive, and create new employment opportunities. The funds are available for small business loans through the JEDCO Growth (JEDgrow) Fund.
The JEDgrow Fund was established to support the growth and economic development of Jefferson Parish-based businesses. Through this program, JEDCO offers loans up to $250,000 for a variety of uses, including leasehold improvements, inventory, working capital and more. This year, JEDCO has funded 14 JEDgrow Loans for a total project cost of nearly $2.7 million. The International Economic Development Council recently presented JEDCO with a 2022 Excellence Award for the JEDgrow Program’s innovative approach to financing.
“This additional funding from the EDA provides JEDCO with more bandwidth through which we will support small businesses in Jefferson Parish,” said JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We remain committed to creating innovative options to support their success in Jefferson.”
“President Biden is committed to providing businesses with the resources they need to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide needed capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs in southeast Louisiana, creating a stronger, more robust regional economy.”
“As a lifelong Louisianian and a member of the House Small Business Committee, I know that small businesses are at the heart of Louisiana’s economy. That is why it is critical that the federal government help them recover, rebuild, and create new, good jobs for the community,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr (LA-02). “This Congressionally-allocated $1.5 million Revolving Loan Fund will help entrepreneurs in Jefferson Parish overcome one of the biggest challenges for small businesses: accessing the capital they need to kick off or grow their enterprises. Today’s announcement once again demonstrates that the Biden Administration is strong ally for small business and for the people of southeast Louisiana.”
This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
JEDCO’s innovative approach to small business financing has served the community well. In less than five years, JEDCO has funded 62 projects for over $9 million with a total project cost of $12.2 million. In 2021, 74% of all funded projects were for minority and/or woman-owned, controlled, and operated businesses.
In addition to the JEDgrow Fund, JEDCO also administers several other loan programs, including the SBA 504 Loan, which is available to businesses across the state. In 2021, JEDCO was one of the top SBA lenders in Louisiana.