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Inclusive and Diverse Economic Development, a New Era

Inclusive economic development, which is made up of community-based strategies, aims to improve economic opportunity for all, with a specific focus on: disadvantaged populations. IEDC has conducted research and produced two papers on the topic: “Revitalizing Neighborhoods, Empowering Residents” and “Opportunities for All: Strategies for Inclusive Economic Development”. Both papers are available for members to download, and for non-members to purchase at the bookstore. Inclusive economic development is becoming more prominent as we study the economy of our cities and how to level the playing field. This is why IEDC chose it as the theme for the 2018 Annual Conference. More specifically, the theme for the yearly event which draws more than 1,200 professionals from around the globe is: “Inclusive Economic Development: Fulfilling Dreams”. Conference sessions, which touch upon a variety of topics, include:

“Social Equity and Housing in Downtowns” will present how trends in demographics, lifestyles, and global competition are attracting more investments and waves of people to urban areas. While mostly positive, negative consequences may include: high housing costs, high costs of living, gentrification in neighborhoods, and the potential for one-dimensional cities that threaten the social vitality of a city. Without intervention and investments to promote affordable housing and social equity in downtowns, many cities are at risk of losing what makes them authentic and lively. Local and regional organizations have a role in this debate which also helps to shape local policies.

“Catalyzing Minority-Owned Businesses for Local Economic Vitality” will highlight the impact of young and often growing businesses as important sources of job creation, exports, and amenities for communities, thus making them critical to a vibrant local economy. Over the past two decades, the number of minority-owned businesses outpaced that of white-owned businesses (Farlie and Robb, 2010). This change is fueled by increasing diversity across country, state, and local entities. Economic developers at the municipal, county, and state levels, along with nonprofits and angel/venture investors’ banks, have an opportunity to leverage demographic changes to create policies, programs, and capital programs to support minority-owned businesses.

“Closing the Digital Divide: Digital Equity for a Strong Workforce and Economy” will discuss how technology is profoundly impacting how workers access information, identify job opportunities, and connect with employers. Access to broadband has become essential to make progress in all areas of the economy -- from education and workforce to business development, health, housing, and access to financial services. There’s a significant digital skills gap across employment sectors. Digital inclusion is essential to workforce development and the future of jobs. During this session, conference attendees will outline best practices, funding opportunities, and steps that cities and regions can take to build broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion/workforce development programs.

The sessions will highlight best practices, case studies, and create discussions; all surrounding inclusive and equitable progress in cities throughout the U.S.


A New IEDC Award for Inclusive Economic Development

The 2018 Excellence in Economic Development Awards will be premiering a new category: Economic Equity and Inclusion which will officially acknowledge economic development organizations, EDOs, who have been hard at work in this area. Those entities to be recognized will have won based on strides made to empower business owners and entrepreneurs to create wealth for themselves, which has ultimately leads to an increase in a local and regional tax-base through the creation of jobs.

Winners of this new award will be announced in September at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia. Information about the event, which is open to the press, is available at www.iedconline.org/annualconference.

See more of the Annual Conference program, which includes descriptions for each session on inclusive economic development, speakers who will present and more. Questions about the IEDC Awards program may be sent to External Relations Coordinator, Nye Harte at nharte@iedconline.org or by calling 202.223.7800.  

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,200 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedcONLINE.org.