Annual Report

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, BRAC quickly pivoted its priorities and nimbly marshalled its staff toward supporting the regional business community through the immediate crisis and recovery period.

BRAC’s pandemic response work fell into six categories, the outcomes of which are outlined below.

COVID-19 Recovery Highlights

  • Led the development of the Safe at Work framework, a guidance on, and call for, safely reopening Louisiana's economy, endorsed by nearly 60 organizations around the state, prior to the May 15 Phase One Executive Order 
  • Developed draft legislation and supported passage of COVID liability protections for businesses reopening to customers and employees 
  • Launched the BRAC PPE Marketplace to source and supply regional businesses with protective equipment necessary for reopening, ultimately facilitating 791 orders 
  • Partnered with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge on the Sewing Safe Project, which ultimately created 1,602 gowns and 4,083 masks
  • Partnered with the Health District to set up and source its PPE distribution center, which received more than 100,000 items
  • Partnered on community initiatives such as Keep BR Serving, Keep BR Shopping, and Back to Business Baton Rouge
  • Launched a comprehensive economic impact survey in the early days of the pandemic to assess immediate needs and prioritize recovery response 
  • Conducted more than 1,700 outreach calls to regional businesses to assess economic impact and connect businesses with resources  
  • Connected with 566 driver businesses through BRAC’s Business Retention and Expansion program to identify industry specific challenges and provide solutions 
  • Assisted 27 regional businesses in pivoting production to PPE 
  • Created one of the nation’s first regional weekly economic indicator dashboards, and published it for 33 consecutive weeks, giving business owners a reliable, objective tool to understand the market as they were trying to survive through the downturn and rebound 
  • Produced over 290 pieces of analysis and guidance, including regular COVID-19 Brief emails, guides to federal business aid programs, recovery loan comparison charts, and more
  • Launched BR Works to connect displaced workers with local job opportunities. BR Works attracted over 100 businesses listing over 1,500 local openings. BR Works not only served as a connector for jobs, but also as a data source by which BRAC was able to analyze high-demand skills and communicate those with regional higher education institutions to encourage alignment with curriculum and short-term training offerings. 
  • Published a Short Term Training Resource Guide to equip jobseekers and employers with easy access to educational offerings for upskilling and reskilling in the Capital Region. The guide provides a robust listing of career and technical education providers and programs, with a focus on growing sectors that provide high-wage careers, including technology, healthcare, business, trade & construction, law, and digital art & design.
  • Made outreach calls to all of BRAC’s investor businesses to assess status and identify trends for recovery 
  • Completed 191 chats through BRAC’s web chat tool to answer questions and direct to resources in real time 
  • Connected 30 Black-owned businesses and childcare centers to local banks for Paycheck Protection Program assistance after identifying a disparity in financial access for such organizations through BRAC’s Black-owned business survey 
  • Created brac.org/recovery as a business recovery information hub to house all relevant and rapidly changing guidance, analysis, and BRAC initiatives related to the pandemic, garnering nearly 100,000 page visits 
  • Hosted more than 70 free business webinars for more than 5,800 attendees, featuring state and federal elected officials and subject matter experts on everything from federal aid programs to school reopening 
  • Established BRAC’s COVID Brief e-newsletter to deliver immediate, concise recovery updates and information to regional businesses, with 183 editions sent 
  • Proactively engaged with regional media to provide expert analysis and promote BRAC recovery resources, ending the year with 322 recovery related placements 
  • Grew BRAC’s social media presence by 2,285 followers across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn 

In addition to tackling wide-ranging initiatives related to the pandemic, BRAC made significant progress against its traditional goals of diversifying the regional economy, cultivating the region's talent, transforming the region's quality of life, and elevating the region's external image.

  • Facilitated 12 project expansions or entries into the market, representing $1.46 billion in capX, 1,096 new direct jobs, and $35.5 million in payroll
  • Partnered with IMPACTBR on locating new companies in North Baton Rouge, and on site certification for new investment
  • Partnered with LSU and Southern University to leverage Handshake - an early talent recruitment platform connecting employers, talent, and colleges - to retain graduates in the region by connecting students to career opportunities through professional internships
  • Added nine new companies to the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunity Partnership (BR-POP) to facilitate relationships with diverse suppliers for procurement practices, bringing the total cohort to 25 partner companies. Since its launch in May 2019, BR-POP has facilitated contracts of $23.9 million;
  • Funded 13 companies to participate in the Dialogue on Race series;
  • Crafted a legislative package for tort reform and education, with BRAC’s tort reform public policy commentary being cited by the bill author on the floor of the House of Representatives;
  • Hosted a forum for East Baton Rouge Mayor-President candidates;
  • Published BRAC’s 2021 Economic Outlook report as a decision-making tool for the region’s business community; and
  • Launched a redesigned website for the organization at brac.org.
  • BRAC named Chamber of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
  • Baton Rouge named Major Market of the Year by Southern Business and Development magazine

Visit the report archives to find previous annual reports.

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