When small communities begin to think about developing and diversifying their economies, they often ask, “Where do we start?”
Sometimes the question comes from a new council member who has been appointed to focus on economic development. Other times, it is a staff person, citizen or member of a community-based organization who wants to know the most effective ways of creating a better, more economically resilient community.
Community economic development, known as CED, is an easy-to-use approach to rural development. It is community-led, and key local decisions are made by residents. It also assumes that economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of a community are linked.
A wealth of CED tools and resources are available online. However, the sheer number of resources can be daunting to a group trying to develop a CED strategy. Which tools and approaches are best suited to your community? Which will help you meet your goals?
These questions can be difficult to answer when your community has limited resources to address economic development. Challenges faced by communities include limited budgets and human resource capacity and access to information and expertise. In addition, when a community does have an Economic Development Officer (EDO) he or she is often faced with the challenge of being responsible for a wide-range of other activities. The intent of this guide is to provide a step-by-step approach to help communities identify strategies and tools that are tailored to their unique needs and to help your community to use its resources to the best of its ability.
Table of Contents
Using This Guide
SECTION I – What is Community Economic Development?
SECTION II – Guide to Assessing Community Readiness
A. CONNECTIONS AND CO-OPERATION
B. COMMUNITY VITALITY
D. STRATEGIC CAPACITY
E. COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
F. BUSINESS HEALTH
A. CED Continuum of Readiness (Scoring Guide) with Strategies and Tools
B. Are We Ready?
C. Broad CED or Targeted Economic Development?
SECTION IV: References and Resources
A. Connections and Co-operation
B. Tools and Resources for Community Vitality
C. Tools and Resources for Leadership
D. Tools and Resources for Strategic Capacity
E. Tools and Resources for Sustainability
F. Tools and Resources for Business Health
G. Other Tools and Resources