Louisiana Economic Development

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Cyber South: Louisiana Continues Tech Sector Growth

Fast-growing restaurant delivery firm Waitr is a Louisiana-based startup.

In Louisiana, global technology firms and fast-growing startups continue to find a conducive business climate, a reliable talent pool and productive partnerships with colleges and universities statewide. That trend continued in 2018 with several key wins.

In June, Austin-based global software company Accruent announced an expansion to New Orleans, also home to DXC Technology and GE Digital. Accruent, which will fill 350 New Orleans jobs by 2020, optimizes real estate, facilities and equipment solutions through internet-of-things, or IoT, technology. Accruent considered New Orleans more cost-effective than mature tech hubs with tighter labor markets.

"Since 2012, New Orleans has led the nation in technology job growth, and we are pleased to continue this trend with the talent we need to support our strong acceleration in new technologies," Accruent CEO John Borgerding says. "Given the vibrant corporate community and tremendous growth opportunities, New Orleans became the clear choice for our next wave of expansion."

Accruent filled key positions quickly, finding a robust talent supply in New Orleans. Since 2006, the city has attracted more than 45 high-tech companies and created more than 20,000 tech-sector jobs.

Also in greater New Orleans, Covington-based satellite communications firm Globalstar announced a merger with FiberLight in a $1.65 billion deal. Globalstar moved its company headquarters to Covington from California in 2010. The company will remain in Louisiana after the FiberLight deal, says Tim Taylor, vice president of finance, business operations and strategy.

"This will make us a much stronger company," Taylor says. "We're more committed to Louisiana than ever before."

North Louisiana continued its tech ascent along the I-20 Cyber Corridor connecting Shreveport, Bossier City, Ruston and Monroe. In October, the International Economic Development Council awarded an Excellence in Economic Development Award to the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, LED and higher education partners: Louisiana Tech University, Northwestern State University and Bossier Parish Community College.

"North Louisiana's 11 colleges and universities represent one of our region's most significant assets, and this IEDC award validates the importance of partnerships with our higher education institutions," says NLEP President Scott Martinez .

The partners are facilitating a 10-year, $14.5 million initiative to expand the number of graduates in fields critical to General Dynamics Information Technology and other employers on the I-20 Cyber Corridor, which includes CenturyLink headquarters, an IBM Client Innovation Center, Barksdale Air Force Base and the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, home to most of GDIT's 1,100 Louisiana employees.

In Lafayette, IT powerhouse CGI and Louisiana startup Waitr found winning conditions for continued expansion in 2018.

CGI announced plans in May to double employment at its IT Center of Excellence from 400 to 800. CGI is the anchor tenant in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Research Park, occupying a 50,000-square-foot space. The company will create a second Lafayette facility.

The year saw big news for restaurant delivery firm Waitr, a fast-growing startup with a 100-job technology center in Lafayette. In November, Waitr went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange after being acquired by Landcadia Holdings for $308 million. Waitr founder and CEO Chris Meaux credits much of the company's growth to Louisiana Economic Development programs, including the Economic Gardening Initiative and the Small and Emerging Business Development Program.

"These programs have proven essential to our success," Meaux says.

To learn more about Louisiana Economic Development aims to strengthen the state's business environment and create a more vibrant economy, visit www.opportunitylouisiana.com.

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