In November of 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Don Pierson welcomed the award of $2.4 million in federal funds to spur business recovery throughout Louisiana. In 2021, LED issued a request for proposals to identify and select qualified, experienced regional and stand-alone Economic Development Organizations, Chambers of Commerce and other traditional “technical assistance” provider organizations to provide services to Louisiana businesses and communities impacted by COVID-19.
Among the applicants was the Vermilion Economic Development Alliance (VEDA) whose mission is to “develop Vermilion” by facilitating business growth, retention and expansion, and serve as the contact for industry interested in relocating to Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. VEDA recently was accepted into the partnership with LED and has been awarded a contract to assist in their efforts.
“Vermilion has long been known for its strength and resilience. But even strong communities like ours were seriously impacted by the pandemic and its aftereffects. This partnership will allow us to continue matching local businesses with opportunities that can sustain their operations,” says Executive Director Anne Falgout, “Several of our local entrepreneurs have been models for ingenuity and sustainability. We hope to leverage those best practices and bring innovative ideas to the business community so that Vermilion, and the state, can leave the pandemic era even better than we arrived.”
VEDA plans to use the allotted funds to provide training in the form of online and in-person classes, one-on-one counseling with interested businesses, and outreach to ensure that available resources are known and utilized.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place unprecedented challenges in our path, but with the collaboration of state, regional and local leaders, we have been able to maintain our stride and prepare for potential new challenges,” said LED Secretary Don Pierson. “The people and leadership of Vermilion Parish have shown time and again that they are willing to combine best practices with a uniquely-Louisiana sense of fortitude to face hurdles and move ahead. I am proud to have VEDA serve as an administrator for these federal dollars, as I can attest to their deep investment in the Vermilion business community, helping to sustain business operations through significant tests. I have no doubt they will rise to this challenge once more.”