Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Don Pierson announced Tuesday Louisiana will host the 14th American Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) from Nov. 6-12, 2021. ACE is the premier economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurial network of the Americas and a leading initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS). International delegates will engage with Louisiana's cutting-edge research institutions, entrepreneurial hubs, foreign trade zones, and world-class business sites during the tour. ACE serves as an opportunity for Louisiana to enhance its presence across many industries and global markets, according to an LED release.
"I believe the value of this unique opportunity cannot be overstated," Pierson said. "ACE will bring international attention to Louisiana's rapidly growing excellence within industries, such as bioscience, logistics, water management, renewable energy, and more. LED and Team Louisiana look forward to welcoming the international delegation and demonstrating the unique assets and best practices behind Louisiana's rise to the top as an international business destination. We have an impressive story to communicate to these leaders from across the globe."
Organized by OAS, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, ACE Louisiana will bring together 50 senior-level government, business, and economic decision-makers from across the Americas and beyond. They will experience regional partnerships, strategic investments, and signature projects from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the release states. Discussions during the event will focus on Louisiana's innovative approach to economic development and the state's record of resilience in the wake of disasters. The tour will highlight recommendations of the Resilient Louisiana Commission's 2020 report.
Leaders are carefully selected for participation in the weeklong ACE program and are encouraged to explore economic development models; share experiences and knowledge; build networks to enhance competitiveness in the Americas; promote sustainable and inclusive economic development models; and increase trade and investment opportunities.
"Our vision is that ACE Louisiana will complement the 'melting pot of innovation' in Lafayette and the state by welcoming new ideas and applying them to the rich talent and leading-edge strategies already in place here," said Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. "The Opportunity Machine's new Innovation Center is just one of the many sites ACE attendees will visit as they learn how Lafayette continues to be a national energy hub while stimulating entrepreneurial growth across high-tech sectors."
Since 2014, ACE has convened in the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico and Canada. Delegates have spurred new international research partnerships, exchanges of best practices to solve common issues, new investment and trade agreements, and greater collaboration across the Americas — outcomes that Louisiana leaders intend to emulate.
The opportunity to host ACE's economic leaders resulted from a successful bid by "Team Louisiana," composed of Louisiana Economic Development, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Greater New Orleans, Inc., the New Orleans Business Alliance, Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, New Orleans & Company, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, and other public- and private-sector leaders in the region.
"Team Louisiana's bid was selected from a highly competitive pool of applications from nations and regions throughout the world for this ministerial-level engagement activity," said Kris Khalil, BioFund managing director and executive director of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. "We are thrilled to be able to showcase Louisiana's entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as provide those same individuals and companies opportunities to foster and develop partnerships with business and policy leaders from across the Americas."
For more information on the ACE program, visit http://riacevents.org/ACE/.
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