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Accredited Economic Development Organization Program

In today's competitive and challenging economic environment, it's vital to show that your organization is at the top of the field, not only to earn the trust of your stakeholders, but to open doors to opportunities reserved only for the best of the best in the field. The Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) program offers you that opportunity. Recognizing the professional excellence of organizations in the field, AEDO status says to your community that your organization is a leading authority on economic-related issues.

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» The Process and Benefits
» Apply
» Reaccreditation
» Downloads
» List of AEDO Organizations


Be Part of an Elite Network

When your organization receives AEDO accreditation, you become part of an elite group of economic development organizations. AEDO status enables you to network with peers in the industry in ways that are unparalleled. See the up-to-date list of AEDO organizations.

In 2009, IEDC and the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute launched a new initiative to create up-to-date benchmarks by surveying current AEDOs. Stakeholders from each organization were asked to assess their organizations on the basis of 10 key indicators related to quality management. The survey found certain key similarities among AEDOs, particularly in the areas of Customer and Market Focus, Partnerships and Relationships and Results. To learn more, read the full report (PDF).


The Process and Benefits of Accreditation

As part of the AEDO accreditation process, your organization receives a thorough, peer-reviewed organizational assessment that is unmatched.

Internal and external operations are examined, structures and procedures are evaluated, and instead of getting feedback from consultants, you are evaluated and mentored by in-the-trenches economic developers working in organizations just like yours.

Organizations that earn the AEDO designation enjoy enhanced visibility within the community and better credibility with stakeholders, including business leaders, political leaders, funders, and clients.

To date, more than sixty elite economic development entities have earned the AEDO designation. These are the best of the best, models of achievement in the economic development field.


The Accreditation Process

The accreditation process consists of two phases, designed to elicit specific information about the structure, organization, funding, programs, and staff of the candidate economic development organization.

Phase 1: Documentation Review
Applicants submit documents demonstrating the organization's development, structure and activity. The document review process determines if organizations are eligible for a site team visit. The requirements for the documentation review are detailed in the Guide to Becoming an AEDO (PDF).

Phase II: Site Team Visit
The site team visit is designed to assess the organization in action. An AEDO subcommittee is carefully chosen, with an eye toward selecting peers who serve in organizations similar to yours. Members of the AEDO subcommittee and/or Certified Economic Developers conduct the visit. The guidelines and evaluation criteria for the site team visit are detailed in the Guide to Becoming an AEDO (PDF).


When You Earn AEDO Status...Showcasing Your Achievement

Entities that become accredited become part of a network of distinguished leadership organizations in the field.

Achieving AEDO status is a noteworthy achievement. As such, your organization receives a plaque to display its accreditation status. You will also receive our help in promoting your achievement of AEDO status to local media. We provide links to all AEDO organization web sites from the IEDC web site in order to give you additional recognition and promotion.

Once certified, AEDO organizations are invited to take part in our annual meeting of AEDO's at our annual conference.

In addition, as an accredited organization, you receive exclusive use of the AEDO logo for your letterhead, promotional materials, and web site. Accredited and re-accredited organizations are also profiled in IEDC's member newsletter and Economic Development Journal.


How Do I Get Started?

Please read the Guide to Becoming an AEDO (PDF) for an explanation of the detailed AEDO application process. The AEDO program only accepts applications electronically. All materials should be submitted electronically to IEDC via the file hosting service Dropbox (www.dropbox.com).

After creating a Dropbox account, the applicant should create one primary folder titled “AEDO Application” that includes 20 sub-folders labeled according to the requirements in the Guide to Becoming an AEDO. Then, the required documentation should be uploaded into the appropriate folder. Once all materials have been uploaded, a link to the primary folder should be shared with Dana Crater at dcrater@iedconline.org.

Once your application has been received and acknowledged, the AEDO Application fee is due via check or credit card. The Accreditation fee is due in full, prior to the site visit evaluation (Guide to Becoming an AEDO, p. 16).

The applicant organization is also responsible for all costs associated with the site visit evaluation, including transportation, food, and lodging for the AEDO evaluation team (please see Guide to Becoming an AEDO for further details).

Please make all checks payable to International Economic Development Council, and write "AEDO" on the memo line.

» Guide to Becoming an AEDO (PDF)
» AEDO Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Once your application has been received and acknowledged, the AEDO Application fee is due via check or credit card. The Accreditation fee is due in full, prior to the site visit evaluation. Payment should be accompanied by the AEDO Application Form.

» AEDO Application Form (PDF)



Organizations that become accredited must be reaccredited every three years. To become reaccredited, organizations must provide detailed materials for review by the AEDO Committee. Organizations must submit both an application and maintenance form from the links below.

» Download AEDO reaccreditation application form (DOC)
» Download AEDO reaccreditation maintenance form (PDF)


What Types of Economic Development Organizations Are Getting Accredited?

• State-and local-government economic development departments
• Local and regional public-private partnerships
• The economic development departments of utilities

» View a list of accredited organizations
» Download the AEDO brochure (PDF)



If you have questions or would like more information on the AEDO program, please contact:

Dana Crater
Phone: 910-821-0245
E-mail: dcrater@iedconline.org
International Economic Development Council
734 15th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005



» Download the AEDO brochure (PDF)
» AEDO Powerpoint Presentation from IEDC's 2017 Annual Conference (PDF)
» 2009 AEDO Benchmarking Excellence Report (PDF)