January 202429

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Partners with Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad to Expand SEBconnect Online Portal and App

Partnership creates one-stop shop for accessing contracting opportunities



NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) announces the Port of New Orleans (PORT NOLA) and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) have joined SEBconnect, the Convention Center’s online and mobile resource designed to create awareness and educate small and emerging business (SEB) owners in real-time about available contracting, purchasing and new business opportunities.

First launched in 2019, SEBconnect was created for the NOENMCC to better engage with the business community by providing easier access resources and business opportunities at the Convention Center. With the newest collaboration, SEBconnect’s streamlined process will now connect local businesses to the most up-to-date contracts and purchasing offerings at the PORT NOLA, NOPB and the Convention Center.

“Small business growth is central to the development and success of our state and local economy,” said Michael Sawaya, President and CEO of NOENMCC. “By partnering with the Port of New Orleans through SEBconnect, we can further our commitment to maximizing economic opportunities that will benefit our small and emerging business community.”

Through research, the Convention Center discovered many small business owners were missing opportunities due to a lack of awareness, access and availability. This partnership exemplifies how these major economic drivers are answering the local business community’s needs and bridging the gap for small and emerging business owners to succeed. Since the SEB program launched in 2019, more than $43 million has been awarded to area SEBs and disadvantaged business enterprises in contracts.

“Local and small businesses play such a critical role in the economic vitality of our region, and we are thrilled to partner with the New Orleans Convention Center to launch this tool designed to make pathways to procurement more accessible,” said Port NOLA President and CEO and NOPB CEO Brandy Christian. “Port NOLA is proud to report that we invested nearly $20 million in fiscal year 2023 to support local small and disadvantaged businesses, and we look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to maximize the impact for our small business community.”

The SEBconnect program offers users simplified technology, delivering better access and availability for opportunities all in a convenient online location, and also makes the certification process easy and transparent by connecting business owners with the right point of contact for certification through the Hudson, State and Local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Louisiana Unified Certification Program.

“Upon receiving a notification from the SEBconnect app about a newly posted request for quotation, our team was able to swiftly receive, access and respond,” said Dayle Hernandez, owner and operations manager for Source One Facilities Services, LLC. “The convenience of the user-friendly mobile app ensured our team was efficient and secured success.”

Since securing a contract through the app, Hernandez’s small business now provides janitorial services and supplemental event labor for the Convention Center.

SEBconnect has proven to be a vital tool and a helpful resource for the local business community. “We are extremely excited to be working with the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad on this endeavor, as we continue to build a network of opportunities that will enhance the growth and prosperity of our small business community,” said Sawaya.

For current SEBconnect App users, you must download the latest version in order to access all opportunities with NOENMCC, PORT NOLA and NOPB.

To view opportunities and learn more, visit sebconnect.com.



About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC)

New Orleans is Built to Host! With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space on one level, all under one roof, NOENMCC is the sixth largest Convention Center in the United States and provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. NOENMCC is a 2023 IAVM Venue Excellence recipient and is consistently named a regional top workplace by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Our recent LEED Gold certification makes NOENMCC the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana and the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance, as well as the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under LEED Gold v4.1 O+M. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, NOENMCC event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening.

About Port NOLA

The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) is a modern multimodal gateway for global commerce and an in-demand cruise port — delivering seamless, integrated logistics solutions between river, rail and road. Port NOLA is a diverse deep water port uniquely located on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico — with access to 30-plus major inland hubs such as Dallas, Memphis, Chicago and Canada via 14,500 miles of waterways, 6 Class I railroads and interstate roadways. Strategic alignment with the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, a Class III connecting railroad, strengthens Port NOLA’s position as an integrated hub and supports the Port’s mission of driving regional economic prosperity.

About NOPB:

The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) is a Class III switching railroad with a mission of serving the Port of New Orleans, local customers, and the New Orleans Rail Gateway. The NOPB connects six Class I railroads to each other and to properties in and near the Port complex. For more information, visit: www.railnola.com.