Led by Hispanic community and business leaders, the Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA) was founded in 1987. Over the past 25 years LAEDA has been a leader and an innovator in the development of economic development strategies to facilitate the redevelopment of the City of Camden and beyond.
The Latin American Economic Development Association, Inc (LAEDA) is a non-profit economic development organization dedicated to the creation of small business ownership opportunities for all minorities, to contribute to the growth and success of small businesses and the development of the marketplace in the communities we serve.
The evolution of our mission
Founded in 1987, LAEDA has established a strong track record in the development, implementation and expansion of economic development programming solutions relevant to the revitalization of the City of Camden and economic empowerment of its residents.
The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program was implemented in 1990 in response to the need to provide alternate routes to employment to residents through business ownership. During the interceding years EDTP has generated an impressive record of outcomes; graduating 797 participants, creating 433 businesses, generating 1,038 jobs. Approximately half or 243 are still in business today. EDTP's alumni body reflects the rich diversity of the City of Camden; 53% of our alumni are African American, a majority of which are female and 43% are of Latin descent.
In 1993, LAEDA under took the first of several commercial development projects in response to the need for suitable commercial space for placement of graduates of the EDTP program. 423 Market Street here in the City of Camden was completely remodeled and served as LAEDA first headquarters and training center. 433 Market Street, 2508 Federal St. and 129 N. Broadway represent nearly 50,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space successfully redeveloped by LAEDA.
In 1999, in response to the need to develop the local marketplace in the City of Camden to place EDTP graduates, LAEDA identified the commercial districts of the City of Camden as the preeminent opportunity for the placement of small businesses. With this LAEDA identified the National Trust for Historic Preservation's model for commercial district revitalization, known nationally as the Main Street Model to guide its efforts. Through the assistance of the Local Initiative Support Corporation, Main Street New Jersey and Rutgers University, LAEDA undertook a grassroots effort to organize merchants on the Broadway commercial district leading to a Partners Designation from Main Street New Jersey. In 2006, LAEDA created the Commercial District Revitalization Initiative to formally integrate commercial district revitalization into its economic development programming. Under the support of the CRA and a UEZ contract, LAEDA undertook organizing efforts in the Federal Street and River Road commercial districts which continue as part of LAEDA overall strategy.
Through a comprehensive array of economic development programming, LAEDA has articulated a comprehensive strategy
to lead the rebirth of the City of Camden by impacting the growth of Camden's business climate by growing the marketplace, building the business and empowering the individual.