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Washington, DC (October 19, 2020) – The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County has been awarded an Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award from the International Economic Development Council for its Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant. The honor was presented late last week during the IEDC Annual Conference.

The NEED Grant was created to provide relief to neighborhood-serving businesses in Memphis’ most distressed areas that had been affected by COVID-19.

“When this current crisis hit, it was clear the small neighborhood-serving businesses that are vital to their communities needed assistance to keep them and the neighborhoods in which they operate afloat,” said EDGE CEO, Reid Dulberger.

“In even the best of cases, launching a new Economic Development program is often a lengthy process. The EDGE team not only moved quickly to create the program but balanced the desire to make good underwriting decisions with the knowledge that our applicants might be closed or quarantined and therefore have limited access to documentation or even their office equipment. This award is indeed an honor.”

From approval of the program by the EDGE Board on April 15, 2020, to today, more than $751,000 has been awarded to 134 businesses located in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods. The program supports EDGE’s and the City of Memphis’ equitable economic development efforts, providing a lifeline to a majority of women and minority-owned businesses and women and minority entrepreneurs throughout this City. Eighty-two percent of the grant recipients have been a minority or women-owned businesses. In the words of one recent grant recipient, the grant has “provided hope and helped to breathe new life into these businesses.”

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald.

Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

This is the third national or international award for EDGE in the last two years. In 2018, EDGE was awarded the Distinguished Development Finance Local Agency Award by the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA). EDGE was recognized for tackling particularly complex and challenging financing concerns and its innovation of financing tools. And earlier this year, a busy 2019 that saw more than $680 million in investment and an additional 1,700 jobs for our area, earned EDGE the 2020 Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development by Site Selection Magazine. The award is given annually to the nation’s top 20 economic development organizations.

2020 Virtual Annual Conference Awards Social Posts341