Six teams of MIT students in the graduate Financing Economic Development course worked with students at the University of New Orleans' Economic Development Planning and Policy class from February to May to prepare proposals on pressing economic development issues for three client organizations: the Jefferson Economic Development Commission, the New Orleans Mayor's Office of Economic Development and the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans East. A summary of each project follows.
Jefferson Economic Development Commission
- Students assessed opportunities and prepared recommendations for how JEDCO could best use the special appropriation of Community Development Block Grant funds to address both short-term economic recovery needs and longer term economic development priorities.
- A second team prepared a business plan for JEDCO to establish a SEED capital fund to finance early stage and growing technology-based firms.
New Orleans Mayor's Office of Economic Development
- Students prepared an operating and financial plan for a full service small business incubator to support businesses returning to New Orleans and foster the success and growth of new enterprises establish in the city.
Small Business Incubator Report for New Orleans, Louisiana, May 19, 2006 (PDF)
- Another student team analyzed current initiatives and needs related to the digital media industry and proposed a digital media center focused on incubating new enterprise along with options to finance the center. Their recommendations also proposed a range of other activities to make New Orleans a center for digital media production, entertainment and entrepreneurship.
Feasibility Study of the New Orleans Digital Media Center, May 19, 2006 (PDF)
Mary Queen of Vietnam Church
- One student team assessed the financial goals and needs of business at commercial nodes along Chef Menteur Highway and the existing range of business credit and development services to prepare recommendations for how the church, in its leadership role for rebuilding neighborhood's Vietnamese community, can help local small business succeed and thrive.
- A second team reviewed options for organizing the business community to address common concerns and work together to market and strengthen the neighborhood's commercial center and assessed business and property owner support for these options. Their report recommended specific steps to establish a business association and ultimately a business improvement districts.