Free Event to Share New Business Opportunities for Fishermen

St. Bernard Parish, LA (September 16, 2015) — The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation will be hosting a free workshop entitled Finding New Pearls in the Oyster Bed: Cultivating Additional Business on Tuesday, September 22 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Charlie’s Restaurant in Violet, Louisiana. Anyone who has experience working on the water, like fishermen and oystermen, are invited to attend this free event to learn how to pursue new business opportunities and generate new revenue.

The event will feature financial resource agencies (TruFund), direct marketing companies, and tour companies (Experience New Orleans!) presenting examples of how people with experience working on the water can start new businesses and earn extra revenue. The workshop will kick off with a brief presentation, followed by an open house giving attendees an opportunity to talk with resource agencies on-on-one.

Finding New Pearls in the Oyster Bed is the third in the 2015 Working on the Water (WOW) event series, which provides resources to commercial fishing, coastal restoration, eco-tourism, and disaster response businesses in St. Bernard Parish and other communities in southeast Louisiana.

“Working on Water events are a big part of our business development and retention and expansion efforts,” said Andrew Jacques, SBDEF’s executive director. “Tuesday’s free workshop will provide tools for our fishing community to discover new resources and help them get the most value out of their businesses and vessels.”

Additional upcoming WOW events include: “Avoiding Traps in the Water: Navigating Laws and Regulations for Your Coastal Business” on November 10. The second annual WOW Summit will be held on March 22, 2016. More information and registration for these events and other WOW programs can be found at workingonthewater.com or by calling (504) 569-9239 Ex. 24.

Working on Water is made possible through a partnership with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), which has allowed SBEDF to expand the initiative and offer programming throughout the year. Tuesday’s worship is being held in Belle Chasse in an effort to reach more people.

In addition to SBEDF and RPC, WOW activities are guided by an advisory committee with representatives from Nunez Community College, the Meraux Foundation, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, TruFund, Leadership St. Bernard, LiftFund, St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism, GNO, Inc., and National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise Program.

About Working on the Water
WOW was conceived following the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill. With coastal communities unsure of their economic and business futures, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation proactively commissioned a study to research economic and job opportunities for those whose livelihoods were impacted by the oil spill. That study resulted in three key recommendations and an action plan for economic development and government partners in affected areas in Southeast Louisiana. They were: to create more value and increase profitability to current fisheries' activities by developing a working waterfront with an open, online marketplace; develop a workforce for coastal restoration projects based upon the skills, resources, and assets of those already familiar with and working on the water; and build a new economic sector in eco-tourism to allow those who are interested or already working on the water to generate additional income in their down time with the skills, assets, and resources they already have at hand.

The first WOW Summit was held in October 2014 to inform those who work on the water on how they can use their unique skills to explore new work opportunities in three key areas: coastal restoration, disaster recovery, and ecotourism. In 2015, WOW expanded to include a series of workshops held throughout the year.

About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation
St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote economic development and commercial growth of St. Bernard Parish and to lead the initiation of partnering organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for St. Bernard Parish citizens. To achieve this mission, SBEDF primarily engages in business attraction, retention, and expansion. Additionally, workforce development and policy development are pursued as key initiatives to drive economic development activities. The Board of Directors consists of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization.

About the Regional Planning Commission
The RPC is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) locally designated Economic Development District and is utilizing a portion of available EDA funds for Working on the Water. 

About the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation
The Meraux Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to benefit the community of St. Bernard Parish by leveraging its landholdings. Today, the Foundation’s board of directors is presided over by Arlene’s niece, Rita Gue, and consists of members Floyd Gue, Bill Haines, Chris Haines, and Sidney Torres, III. Guided by Arlene’s vision, the Board is implementing an innovative strategy to create lasting change and build a better St. Bernard. The Meraux Foundation is a founding sponsor and organizer of Working on Water.