Louisiana Economic Development won two awards at the 2021 IEDC Annual Conference in Nashville. The state agency’s Small Business Services team earned a Gold Award in Entrepreneurship and LED FastStart earned a Silver Award for Talent Development and Retention. The honors were presented to LED Secretary Don Pierson, Assistant Secretary Mandi Mitchell, Undersecretary Anne Villa and the LED Small Business Services team. 

IEDC recognized Louisiana for delivering the world’s best economic development programs in the largest population category (500,000 and above). For the Entrepreneurship category, the council singled out the LED Growth Network, which focuses on growth-oriented support for second-stage small businesses in Louisiana. In the Talent Development and Retention category, LED FastStart was recognized for its best-in-class talent recruitment and workforce training services.

“I extend a heartfelt congratulations to the teams at Louisiana Economic Development who will bring home awards that signify recognition on a global scale,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Businesses large and small can rest assured that our economic development team is delivering on its commitment to foster a strong economic climate in our state, and to provide the resources, guidance and support for entrepreneurs to succeed. LED’s Small Business Services team fosters growth for small businesses, which has been a priority of my administration since day one, and LED FastStart’s continuous innovation has led them to remain the national leader in workforce development.”

LED was honored in previous years with IEDC Awards. The support efforts of LED’s Small Business Services team were awarded Gold in 2019. LED FastStart earned Silver in 2020 for leading higher education partnerships statewide in support of the DXC Technology project. LED FastStart also received an IEDC Bronze Award in the Talent Development and Retention category for its partnership with Boeing and Nunez Community College.

The IEDC is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that serves economic developers. With 5,000 members, it is the largest organization of its kind.

“Small businesses stimulate job creation, develop crucial innovations, and promote a diverse economic base,” IEDC CEO Jeff Finkle said. “We are pleased to recognize Louisiana Economic Development for their efforts in supporting entrepreneurship through innovative programs and focused initiatives that nurture and provide critical assistance to small businesses. We also recognize the great work that LED FastStart is accomplishing through its talent development and retention initiatives. Workforce innovation is central to economic growth, and Louisiana is in good hands with LED FastStart. The pandemic crippled many small businesses and programs like LED’s are crucial for the comeback we hope to achieve in our small business community.”

Originally posted in BIZ NOLA, 10/6/21