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IEDC's International Activities

Each year IEDC continues to ensure that its mission of providing leadership and excellence in economic development is being fulfilled with a global perspective. Through its core values of being socially responsible and dedicated to building healthy, just, competitive communities, IEDC has continued to expand its international projects and partnerships. Learning from, and sharing knowledge with, our international partners allow IEDC’s members to gain access to the best practices and resources in economic development from around the world.

In addition to international knowledge sharing, as part of the IEDC bylaws, the organization strives to maintain an international perspective with a mandate that requires representation from Canada and the European Union. IEDC looks forward to continuing to expand its global presence, building relationships with other economic development agencies and providing innovative services for international communities. Throughout this page is an overview of the many international aspects of IEDC’s work.

International Advisory Committee

Foreign Delegation Meetings and Trainings

Certification and Training Courses


Accredited Economic Development Organizations


International Partnerships

Advisory Services & Research Projects

IEDC International Handout


International Advisory Committee

The International Advisory Committee is comprised of around 40 Economic Development Council members with the objective to promote international membership and content in IEDC’s conferences and in the professional development training courses. The committee reports to the Planning and Business Development Committee and also takes on special assignments as directed by the board. The committee holds five conference calls throughout the year and one in-person meeting at the IEDC’s annual conference. The committee also works with IEDC staff to develop the theme and suggest speakers of at least one international themed webinar each year. A list of these webinars can be seen later in this page in the webinar section. The committee also works with IEDC staff on international themed sessions and speakers at IEDC’s Annual Conference. More information about this is located later in this page under the conferences section.

Foreign Delegation Meetings and Trainings

IEDC has hosted multiple groups to IEDC’s office to present and train about economic development in the U.S. and a multitude of other economic development topics. IEDC has organized international delegations and training seminars on site and around the DC Metro. The types of meetings organized include meeting with other economic development related associations in DC, meeting with political leaders, and local business CEOs. Delegations have visited from the countries of China, Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Australia, Macedonian, Russia, Japan, and Germany. IEDC also works with a number of intermediary groups, such as Triway International Group, FCC Group International, and The American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Certification and Training Courses

IEDC’s certification and training modules are currently deployed in Canada and through the Center for Local Economic Development in South Africa.. The basic course is available in Mexico through CETYS Universidad. Upcoming courses through CETYS can be found here.

Canada Training and Certification

Training and certification in Canada has become a fully developed program. IEDC’s training courses and accompanying manuals were overhauled and modified to the Canadian economic development environment. These courses are currently being deployed in Canada and allow Canadian practitioners to join IEDC's professional development offerings and begin the track to the CEcD. Holders of the Canadian Certified Economic Developer (EcD) were able to get the CEcD as of September 2013. At the end of 2015, there are over 75 Canadians who hold both certifications. To learn more about becoming certified, Click here. For FAQ’s on the CEcD for Canadians, Click here. For any other questions, please contact Emily Bell, Director of Professional Development at ebell@iedconline.org.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Training Course

Another part of the international aspect of IEDC is preparing our members for international trade, FDI, and export trade. In partnership with the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, IEDC created an elective course on the topic of FDI. IEDC also is rewriting all existing course manuals to include FDI and export trade. The first FDI course was successfully delivered in Chicago, Illinois, July 23-24, 2015. Click here to learn more upcoming FDI courses.


At every IEDC Annual Conference, the organization strives to provide an international perspective and information for all attendees. IEDC also uses the conference to hold bi-lateral meetings with international partners. These meetings allow the IEDC Governance Board and partners to discuss annually the relationship progress and means to collaborate for future cooperation.

In addition, at every Annual Conference IEDC has a goal of 30 international speakers and moderators to ensure that economic development ideas and perspectives from around the globe are shared. A sample of past speakers includes:

• Simon Milcock, Economic Development Australia (EDA), Australia
• Christian Saublens, European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA), Brussels
• Nitin Pangam, Maeflower Consulting, India
• His Excellency Dr. Peter Ammon, Federal Republic of Germany, Ambassador to the United States
• Ralph Chow, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong
• Greg Borduas, Ec.D., Economic Developers of Canada, Canada
• Dale Wheeldon, British Columbia Economic Development Association, Canada
• Judith Walker, OCO Global, Northern Ireland
• Stephen Chapple, Economic Development Australia (EDA), Australia
• Ajarin Pattanapanchai, Thailand Board of Investment, Thailand
• Heather LaLonde, Economic Developers of Ontario, Canada
• Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississuaga, Canada
• Greg Dandewich, Economic Development Winnipeg Inc, Canada
• Carl Graeb, CARO Investment Consulting GmbH, Germany
• Claude Baissac, Eunomix, South Africa
• Nili Shalev, Economic Minister to North America, Economic Mission, The Government of Israel, Israel
• David Madie, GrowthWheel International Inc., Denmark
• Andy Curtis, Global Innovation Partners, United Kingdom
• Samantha Seath , EDANZ, New Zealand
• Flavio Olivieri, Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, Mexico
• Patrick McVeigh, EDANZ , New Zealand
• Simon Galpin, Invest Hong Kong, Hong Kong
• Marius Venter, University of Johannesburg - Department of Economics and Econometrics, South Africa

IEDC has also had the benefit of attending and speaking at partner international conferences. During these conferences IEDC representation educates about IEDC and the organization goals and meets with international partners to discuss the relationship progression and possible future collaboration. Past conferences include:

• November 3-4, 2015, Saskatchewan Economic Development Association, 2015 Creating Intersections for Growth Conference, Humboldt, Saskatchewan. IEDC Representation: Jeff Finkle, IEDC President and CEO.
• October 14-16,2015 Third World Forum Of Local Economic Development, Turin, Italy. IEDC Representation: Bill Sproull, Board Past-Chair.
• September 20 - 23, 2015, EDAC’s 47th Annual Conference, Whitehorse, Yukon. IEDC Representation: Barry Matherly, Board Vice-Chair.
• September 17-18, 2015, European Association of Development Agencies, AGORADA 2015, Antibes, France. IEDC Representation: Jeff Finkle, IEDC President and CEO.
• June 14-16, 2015, WAIPA World Investment Conference, Milan, Italy. IEDC Representation: JoAnn Crary, Board Chair.
• June 17, 2014, European Association of Development Agencies, AGORADA 2014, Brussels, Belgium. IEDC Representation: Bill Sproull, Board Chair.
• May 26-27, 2014, Centre for Local Economic Development (CENLED), VALUE Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa. IEDC Representation: Jeff Finkle, IEDC President and CEO.
• May 13-14, 2014, WAIPA World Investment Conference, Istanbul, Turkey. IEDC Representation: Bill Sproull, Board Chair.

IEDC is proud to be hosting the upcoming 2017 Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada September 17-20.

Accredited Economic Development Organizations (AEDO)

Recognizing the professional excellence of organizations in the field, AEDO status is an elite accreditation given to organizations that are a leading authority on economic-related issues. As part of the AEDO accreditation process, organizations receive a thorough, peer-reviewed organizational assessment that is unmatched. To learn more about the AEDO program, click here. We currently have five international AEDOs, which you can learn more information about here.

• Tijuana EDC
• Industrial Development Commission of Mexicali

• Hamilton Economic Development
• Greater Halifax Partnership
• Port Colbourne Economic Development Department


IEDC hosts at least one internationally themed webinar each year. Visit our bookstore to learn about other past webinars. Past topics include, but are not limited to:

Unlock Strategies to Attract Investment from Asia
The Art of Exporting and Taking Your Community Global
Use EB-5 to Attract Foreign Investment and Jobs to Your Community
Going Global to Grow Local: Tools, Trends, and Best Practices in FDI

International Partnerships

IEDC and the organizations profiled below are dedicated to promoting an international exchange of information, experience, and best practice among economic development practitioners and organizations. These efforts include partnering on initiatves, sharing information, and participating in each other's events in order to improve the integration of economic, social, and environmental agendas.

Entities that are membership organizations assist members of their respective organizations to develop bilateral contacts and/or common projects. The main goal of this collaboration is to facilitate international learning and the development of networks for information sharing between organizations and members.

The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies

Created in 1995, The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies(WAIPA) was established as an Association under Swiss law and registered in Geneva as a non-governmental organization. From its very inception, WAIPA has represented an ever growing number of member agencies: in 2013 WAIPA had 170 Members from 130 countries. Through its wide range of activities, WAIPA provides the opportunity for investment promotion agencies (IPAs) to network and exchange best practices in investment promotion.

In 2004, IEDC and the WAIPA established a partnership to promote friendship and mutual respect in the global economic development community. Moreover, both parties agreed to be principal partners with each other in their cross discipline and cross border relationships and interactions. Additionally, the agreement expressed mutual consent for cross-participation in each organization’s annual conferences.This opportunity greatly helped improve international initiatives through joint ventures with WAIPA’s agencies and sponsors as well as IEDC gaining valuable insight into the global economic environment. IEDC serves on WAIPA’s Consultative Committee, which of consists of several international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

European Association of Development Agencies

The European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) was created in 1991 to encourage exchanges of experience between members, share best practices in economic development, promote recognition of development agencies, participate in development and delivery of programs, reinforce and better organize technical cooperation, as well as assist development agencies. EURADA activities include sharing of information, assistance, training and development of cooperation projects to analysis of policy impacts and promotion of techniques in local and regional economic development.

Center for Local Economic Development (CENLED)

Representing the University of Johannesburg, Center for Local Economic Development (CENLED) is a leading educational institution offering a mix of vocational and academic programs that advance high ideals of humanity through distinguished scholarship, excellence in teaching, reputable research and innovation. With a common goal of providing educational opportunities designed to help local economic development practitioners, IEDC and CENLED partnered together in 2012 to unify and standardize the profession of international economic development. By developing high quality educational and capacity building programs, the two organizations offered practitioners an internationally recognized curriculum to prepare them for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) program that was tailored to the economic development climate in South Africa.

Economic Developers of Australia

Economic Developers of Australia (EDA) promotes sustainable economic development in all levels of government across Australia. As the professional membership body of economic developers for Australia membership exceeds 400 Australia-wide with State Practitioner networks established in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Territories. EDA is committed to supporting economic development practitioners to increase the social, economic and environmental prosperity of Australian Communities.

Economic Development Association of New Zealand

The Economic Development Association of New Zealand (EDANZ) was established in November 1996 as a response from agencies who recognized the benefits that could be gained from working collaboratively, especially with regard to investment attraction. Since its initial establishment, EDANZ has developed to provide a full range of member services, including networking, conferences, joint projects, access to information and resources, and government lobbying. The organization currently has a membership of 76 agencies from around New Zealand. They vary in that they can deliver services, provide economic policy and strategic advice, or a blend of both.

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and services providers. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organizes international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in overseas markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room.

Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)

EDCO is an independent, non-profit, incorporated association of persons engaged in economic development. The council was organized in 1957 and incorporated in 1962. In 2011, IEDC and EDCO wished to increase their opportunities to work together and better serve the economic development profession. With this partnership, both organizations sought to share access to products, services and professional information, enhance representation to public and governmental agencies, and create collaborate to enhance financial stability and growth. IEDC and EDCO’s partnership enabled opportunities for development and the ability to provide technical assistance to and between provincial, stage, and regional associations.

British Columbia Economic Development Association

The British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) is the leading professional association of economic development practitioners in the Province of BC. The BCEDA currently has over 360 members from communities throughout the Province. They provide services that helps member communities grow and expand new and existing businesses, attract new business investments, and work towards strategic infrastructure investment, land use planning, and community enhancement. The BCEDA services include an annual summit and networking event, educational and professional development opportunities, public relations, advisory services and resources and partnering with communities and the Province of BC to market British Columbia for business investment. IEDC and BCEDA have been in partnership for the last two years, providing the CEcD certification courses to its members as well as other Canadians and provinces.

Economic Developers Alberta

Economic Developers Alberta is the province’s premiere economic development network. For over 40 years, they have been committed to advancing the economic development profession by providing resources, professional development and networking opportunities. As a non-profit organization, they are governed by a volunteer board of directors that represent the interests of their membership, which includes: municipalities; towns; regions; tourism groups; financial institutions; Crown Corporations; businesses; Regional Economic Development Authorities; Community Futures Development Corporations; federal, provincial, regional and municipal government agencies; students; NGO’s; and other groups and individuals that are either involved or interested in economic development. IEDC and EDA recently signed an MOU, further providing the opportunity for economic developers to receive the CEcD on an international level.

Saskatchewan Economic Developers Association

The Saskatchewan Economic Development Association has operated successfully for over 25 years as the provincial association for those engaged in community economic development throughout Saskatchewan, Canada. From community economic development and social enterprise to international trade and investment, SEDA works consistently to support practitioners and community leaders in all paths of economic development. SEDA believes that prosperity requires a coordinated, cooperative effort of many individuals and organizations in the public, private and civil sectors. Together with our members, allies and partners, SEDA works to enhance the economic capacity of Saskatchewan communities.

Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils

Founded in 2010 by competitiveness councils and economic development organizations from the United States, Brazil, Korea, Egypt, Russia, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) is an ever-expanding network of organizations committed to enhancing national and global prosperity and fostering cross-national sharing of knowledge. The GFCC is headquartered in Washington, DC, USA, and has more than 30 members coming from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

GFCC members are private sector competitiveness councils and government organizations that have strong linkages with private sector and work in the promotion of competitiveness at the national and/or subnational level. As stated in the foundational GFCC Global Competitiveness Principles, “significant private sector involvement” is critical for the involvement in the GFCC.

The GFCC understands that competitiveness is a result of the interplay between cost and value structures in economies. A strong emphasis on the capacity that countries and regions should have to create value and innovate is an important component of the GFCC agenda. The GFCC is a network of doers, including organizations and leaders that are changing realities on the ground in their countries, regions, states and cities. The GFCC aims at promoting cross learning within the membership and beyond, taking advantage and leveraging the network’s knowledge assets.

Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

The Chinese Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) is the investment promotion agency of the People's Republic of China. CIPA fosters inbound investment into China and outbound investment in line with China's economic strategies. CIPA is engaged in cooperation with international economic organizations, foreign investment promotion agencies, chambers of commerce and business associations on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2007, IEDC agreed to partner with CIPA on two-way investment promotion efforts. Unlike previous MOUs, this MOU’s objective was to identify areas of enhanced cooperation in both the US’s investment to China and China’s investment to the US. Specifically, IEDC would serve as a conduit for CIPA to network with US state and local economic development organizations.

The MOU called for the free flow of information including: exchanging company information and contacts, sharing opportunities to participate in investment seminars and organizing two-way investment promotion missions. Additionally, CIPA agreed to inform the economic development professionals in China about the International Economic Development Council, and to bring high level speakers and delegations to IEDC’s annual conferences.

Subsequently, IEDC hosted CIPA on April 27, 2009. During that meeting, IEDC served as a conduit to Invest in America and also helped CIPA sign an MOU with the State of New York.

Economic Developers Association of Canada

The Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) is a Canadian not for profit organization that, since 1968, has served as the national association of economic developers working to enhance professional competence, advance economic development as a profession, and contribute to Canada’s well-being. The association offers its members professional development, networking opportunities and a comprehensive offering of resources, both on and offline. EDAC engages with partner organizations, Provincial / Territorial Associations and other related business organizations nationwide.

Advisory Services and Research Projects

For over 40 years, IEDC's Advisory Services and Research (ASR) have provided customized solutions for communities' most pressing economic development challenges. With an experienced staff, and access to IEDC’s extensive member network, we deliver practical economic development guidance and solutions to local, state, tribal, federal, and international clients. Visit this page to learn more about our advisory services and research. A sample of international themed projects include:

Halifax Regional Municipality – Strategic Plan Assessment (2010)
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

IEDC conducted a review of the Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM’s) Economic Development Strategy 2005-2010 in preparation for HRM developing a new economic strategy for 2011-2016. IEDC’s assessment outlined the strengths and weaknesses of the economic strategy, and provided recommendations for improvement for the 2011 strategic planning exercise, including programs and projects to be considered.

Strategic Assessment for the City of Wendeng, China - United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] (2007-2008)
Location: Wendeng, P.R. China

IEDC worked with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization - Investment & Technology Promotion Office – China (UNIDO ITPO-China) to provide the City of Wendeng, Shandong Province with a strategic assessment of the Wendeng Economic Development Zone (EDZ). The goal of this project was to provide key recommendations and best practices to strengthen Wendeng’s competitiveness in transforming the local economy into a more diverse, technologically-advanced economy. IEDC teamed with the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) to focus on the following core areas: 1) industrial restructuring, 2) business attraction and marketing, 3) zone development and management, and 4) small enterprise growth. The IEDC/NBIA team performed an economic assessment with target industry & SWOT analysis, constructed case studies, introduced research methods, and presented strategies in the four core project areas. The project also included a U.S. study tour of industrial parks. A U.S. trade mission is planned for Spring 2008.

Ecuador Regional Development Agency Assessment and Investment Generation Infrastructure Recommendations (2007)
Location: Ecuador

IEDC worked with a team to assess regional economic development organizations in Ecuador with a focus on increasing organizational capacity for regional competitiveness, investment promotion and business attraction. Along with organizational assessment site-visits, the IEDC team held a symposium on good practices in international investment promotion programs and activities. The project included an assessment and review of the investment promotion infrastructure in Ecuadorian regional development agencies and an action plan to develop an investment promotion program in the country.

Sustainable Town Development for the City of Feicheng, China – United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] (2006)
Location: Feicheng, P.R. China

UNIDO-ITPO China contracted IEDC to develop strategies for sustainable economic development in a rapidly developing industrial community in Feicheng County, Shandong Province, P.R. China. The study involves researching best practices and providing key recommendations for industrial development, eco-industrial projects, workforce development, and real estate development. Shiheng Town, located in the jurisdiction of Tai’an and Feicheng cities, has a mix of heavy and light industrial firms, in mining and extractive businesses related to the energy sector, building materials industry, chemical industry, and agro-processing. Major issues addressed in the study include developing healthy living and working conditions in the town, increasing the capacity of the region to provide jobs and skilled workers, and expanding employment opportunities for incoming migrants while minimizing the environmental impact of current and future enterprises.

Economic Development Action Plan – Hull Citybuild (2006)
Location: Hull, United Kingdom

Hull Citybuild contracted IEDC to develop a project regarding economic and industry development initiatives in the city of Hull, United Kingdom. The IEDC project resulted in an action plan detailing recommendations and best practices to implement specific initiatives to strengthen the Hull region’s competitiveness and stimulate economic development. Specific topics addressed included value added manufacturing and port logistics, renewable energy, biomedical healthcare, call centers, as well as city regeneration. The action plan focused on the optimal application of the competitive positioning analysis conducted by IBM Business Consulting Services’ Global Location Strategies, including optimal site development.

Bulgarian Economic Development Association Consulting - ICMA, Bulgarian Foundation for Local Government Reform (FLGR) (2005)
Location: Bulgaria

IEDC took part in the development of a business plan for the Bulgarian Foundation for Local Government Reform (FLGR), an economic development membership organization. As part of an International City Management Association (ICMA) team funded by U.S. AID, IEDC participated in the CityLinks program, linking over 30 municipalities in Bulgaria in an economic development network. This program enables FLGR to offer economic development training, certification, technical assistance, and marketing. IEDC advised FLGR on how to position itself as a membership-based organization of municipalities in Bulgaria.

Mobilizing Community Resources for Local Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States—ICMA / U.S. Agency for International Development (1999)
Location: International

IEDC worked with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to produce a final report that summarized the main themes, findings, conclusions and recommendations developed during the November 9-12, 1998 conference in Bucharest, Romania on mobilizing local resources for economic development. The conference was sponsored by U.S. AID, the Council of Europe, the World Bank and the Soros Foundation.

Understanding Local Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States (CEE/NIS) Region: An Introduction (Publication)-U.S. Agency for International Development (1998)
Location: Central/ Eastern Europe

As subcontractor, IEDC, researched local economic development initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States to develop a set of six briefing papers for USAID, outlining the basics of doing economic development for communities in that region. The papers included: (1) "Overview: Local Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States," (2) "What is Local Economic Development?" (3) "Who Does Local Economic Development?," (4) "Economic Development Processes: Strategic Planning," (5) "Economic Development Tools: Infrastructure," and (6) "Economic Development Tools: Business Assistance." To complete these papers, IEDC researchers went to Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria and met with local officials, business associations, central government representatives, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders.

Nicaragua Economic Development Strategy-Nicaragua (1998)
Location: Nicaragua

IEDC participated on an expert panel evaluating Nicaragua's economic development strategy for large businesses. The panel, which was coordinated by the Inter-American Development Bank, met directly with the Minister of the Economy and Development and his staff.

IEDC International Handout

Want a small handout you can carry with you on trade missions and abroad to share who IEDC is and what the organization does? We have developed a bi-fold business card that does just this. Click here to see this card.