Thursday, 23 October 2014 17:02

Louisiana Biz: Leslie Jacobs, Better Than Ezra, EDgear, Idea Village

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Jacobs5X7 Today's business news from around the state--Better Than Ezra Foundation, EDgear expands to Baton Rouge, Idea Village and Leslie Jacobs



(Photo: Leslie Jacobs)


The Better Than Ezra Foundation is excited about the upcoming VIP Tailgate Party at Walk-On’s sponsored by IBERIABANK before the Saints vs. Packers game on Sunday, October 26th from 3PM to 6:30PM. The band invites guests to support after school arts and education programs in the community. Proceeds from the event benefit the Better Than Ezra Foundation’s After School Program at Bethune Elementary in the Holly Grove neighborhood of New Orleans and MusiCares. The fundraiser includes a special acoustic performance by Better Than Ezra, silent auction, open bar and premium food stations.

To date, the Better Than Ezra Foundation has raised over $1,450,000 for various causes in and around the New Orleans area is very excited about its expansion into Baton Rouge community schools, as well. Through various programs, the Better Than Ezra Foundation has been able to reach numerous children from families who experience economic insecurity.

“Since the founding of the Better Than Ezra Foundation in 2007, we have seen a great deal of success and expansion, especially with our impact on education in the Greater New Orleans area”, says Delery Rice, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are excited to partner with MusiCares which provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.”

For more information about the VIP tailgate party or to purchase tickets, go to:

To learn more about the Better Than Ezra Foundation, please visit

DDD President & CEO Kurt Weigle, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, 8th District Commander Jeff Walls and Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Director of Homeland Security unveiled a new NOPD patrol vehicle for officers who are assigned to the DDD security detail. The DDD provided the funding to purchase the vehicle and equip it with the necessary equipment and tools for officers. 

DDD provides 24/7 police details for Downtown stakeholders as part of its public safety mission. Approximately 30 officers provide 400 hours per week in enhanced police coverage. The new vehicle will provide additional visibility on the streets without requiring additional resources from the NOPD.


 EDgear, based in Shreveport, Louisiana, today announced that it will open operations at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. The thirty-year-old company develops software programs to collect and manage student information and to provide reporting solutions that benefit students, faculty, administrators, and parents at the school, district, and state education level. In selecting the Baton Rouge Area, EDgear joins a growing number of software development companies locating in the region. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) worked collaboratively with the mayor’s office, Louisiana Economic Development, and administration at the metro airport to finalize the deal.

“EDgear’s decision to locate in Baton Rouge demonstrates the region’s attractiveness as a place to do business,” said Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden.  “This company’s expansion will continue the momentum we’ve experienced in the software sector over the last twenty-four months.”

Temporarily, EDgear will locate where the airport police department is housed. The airport plans to construct an office building on the north side of the airfield that is currently vacant. When the office building is completed, EDgear will relocate there.

“The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is pleased to welcome EDgear to the marketplace,” said Jared Smith, director of business development for East Baton Rouge Parish. “The airport plays a critical role in regional economic development and was particularly attractive to EDgear because of the company’s business relationships around the state and beyond.”

EDgear will create thirty-three new direct jobs in Baton Rouge by the end of 2015, climbing to eighty-five new direct jobs in 2018. In addition to the 85 new direct jobs, the project will result in an estimated 125 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 200 new jobs in the Capital Region. The new jobs will offer an average annual salary of $64,000, plus benefits. EDgear will make a $1.77 million capital investment in new equipment and building renovations at the terminal annex suite.

“We look forward to expanding our operations in the Capital Region,” said Will Loftin, chief executive officer of EDgear. “Through partnership with the mayor, BRAC, and LED, we quickly realized that the capital city afforded our company the accessibility and professional talent we need to grow our business.”

EDgear entered into a lease arrangement with the airport that is slated for vote by the Metropolitan Council later today. The company will make more than $27,000 in annual lease payments and have the option to renew the lease for four additional one-year terms after the initial year.

“EDgear’s selection of this location not only creates jobs in Baton Rouge, but also an important revenue stream for the airport, which many fail to realize is self-sustaining,” said Anthony Marino, director of aviation at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.


The 2015 Entrepreneur Season is well underway - and the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem is collaborating as it moves towards the 7th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 20-27, 2015, on Fulton Street.

•             This week marks the 5th week of the 2015 IDEAx accelerator program. All of the founders are making great traction as they prepare for Demo Day on December 9th. Learn more about the cohort (pictured above) here and stay tuned for exciting updates!

•             Since August, we’ve hosted 57 one-on-one IDEAsessions and seven unique IDEAinstitute sessions that have collectively engaged well over 150 individuals. It’s not too late to take advantage of these events! Check out the full calendar here.

•             The New Orleans Entrepreneur Week countdown is on. Only 21 weeks until the 7th annual event, which will take place March 20-27, 2015! 


Leslie Jacobs, Vice Chair of the New Orleans Business Alliance, was awarded the Citizen Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for her commitment in promoting economic development.  The honor was presented on Tuesday, October 21 during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX. 

"The Citizen Leadership Award celebrates a community or business leader, or an individual who is not an economic development specialist, but who plays a major leadership role in economic development pursuits," said William C. Sproull, IEDC chair. “Ms. Jacobs is a fine example of such an individual.”

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