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The NOLA Business Alliance is boosting its efforts to make the Essence Music Festival’s presence a financial benefit to its host city New Orleans. According to Nola.com, the alliance is inviting top-level executives from countries around the nation during the week’s festivities, in an attempt to persuade them to invest in the city. The 10 invited African American senior-level business executives hold positions in real estate, film and digital media companies and private equity firms. On Thursday and Friday, they will meet with local business leaders in private meetings to discuss new partnerships.

“We thought it was a fantastic idea because we have these underutilized events that bring people to the city,” Michelle Craig, a partner at Adams and Reese law firm and the co-chair of the committee leading the partnership venture said to Nola.com. “Unless they understand why we are here, they are not going to want to be here. This allows us to tell them.”

Rod Miller, the executive director of the NOLA Business Alliance, hopes that this “familiarization tour” with New Orleans will be an open conversation that could turn into future investments. The Essence Music Festival presents a particularly opportune time to discuss investments as the festivals brings thousands of people each year, including Fortune 500 companies’ senior representatives.

“Essence is a huge platform for our city,” Miller said to Nola.com. “This will elevate our city on a national profile.”

In the past, Miller has put together a similar venture in Phoenix, which he says produced “several significant investments.”

With the New Orleans Jazz event coming up in April and the Heritage Festival in May, the Business Alliance hopes that following the Essence Music Festival’s success, the events will offer even more opportunities to build economic partnerships in New Orleans.

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