New Orleans Business Alliance leader shares economic dev plan for the city

September 02, 2021 - 01:25 PM

By VICTORIA LUZ (BAMM NETWORK) — During an interview on The Blueprint with co-hosts Brandon Armant and Greg Tillery, the leader of New Orleans Business Alliance, one of the few accredited economic development organizations worldwide, discussed plans for economic development in his hometown, New Orleans, Louisiana.  He believes that despite setbacks the city has incured, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of New Orleans and the businesses in the city will bounce back even stronger to create a sustainable economy and curb economic disparities from within. 

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With the pandemic still at large, many New Orleans businesses have closed and fewer people are visiting the very popular tourist destination, creating a challenge for many business owners. But for Norman Barnum, the interim president & CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the Big Easy is more than just a city where tourists come and go; and with NOLABA under his leadership, Barnum wants nothing but to rebuild economic development in the city while developing a sustainable business plan that would help everyone in the community. 

NOLABA serves as a bridge for the city, community, and business owners to position New Orleans as the ideal intersection of commerce and culture. It has been their aim to excite, create and develop economic investments and opportunities within New Orleans. For the organization, it means job creation, job retainment, and growing small businesses organically. Eventually, this will lead to an increase in real estate value, more homeownership for African-Americans, and improvement of quality of life for residents. Despite the pressure the city is experiencing, it has been their focus to create a self-sustaining revenue model for business owners; and for NOLABA, this  also means focusing on a plan that doesn't allow small businesses to be solely dependent on philanthropy or city partnerships.  

NOLABA Hires Barnum, Marshall, Stewart for Key Leadership Roles

Photo Credit: website

"How do we monetize digitally," Barnum rhetorically asked during the interview.  Barnum believes digital monetization is the next frontier in this day and age, not only for New Orleans but for the world.  Because we are at a new level of technology, Barnum wants to develop sustainable strategies that will keep the economy running without relying on tourists to physically visit the city.

"We do not react to opportunities, we create opportunities," Barnum said.

Creating opportunities for business owners has been at the forefront for Barnum.  With the Resilient Initiative partnership NOLABA has with the City of New Orleans, along with their Covid Relief Fund, the alliance has created programs that help businesses and support them in order to build them back up. 

We live in an age where everyone is looking for authentic experiences, Barnum said; and he believes that New Orleans, with the unique culture that she and her residents naturally possess, is the best city to provide that authenticity that everyone is in search of.

"I do not need a powerpoint or a script to infatuate the value proposition of New Orleans.  I am the value proposition.  I become a part of that value proposition," he said.

In his position as the leader of the official economic development partnership for New Orleans and the hub of its business community, Barnum is not only vetted in the city's cultural activities, but he also wants to ensure those activities lead to profitable outcomes.

"I can do the Second Line all day long," Barnum told Armant and Tillery, referring to a New Orleans culture of celebration.  "But I want to monetize it," he added.

NOLABA is the only economic development organization focused solely on growing the New Orleans economy, and it is one of 62 International Economic Development Council accredited economic development organizations worldwide. 


About The Blueprint with Brandon Armant & Greg Tillery

Entrepreneurs come across countless hurdles while climbing their way to the top, and learn many lessons along the way. On the show, The Blueprint, acclaimed and respected entrepreneur & journalist Brandon Armant of BAMM Communications and serial entrepreneur & social media influencer Greg Tillery of We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp, talk one-on-one with professionals who're excelling within their respective industries, to see what makes up their "blueprint" for success. For millennial entrepreneurs interested in what professionals in various fields have done to continue to stay on top, this show is for you!

The Blueprint is in its 3rd season and streams exclusively on BAMM Network; available on connected TV platforms ROKU TV and Amazon Fire TV, as well as its mobile app on Android and Apple devices.

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