Helping Your Community Leaders See the Benefits of Your Trip to Annual Conference

Your trip to Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the perfect opportunity to learn about new priorities in the profession and how to address them. It also offers ample networking sessions and practical examples of success stories, including educational tours through the host community.

Below is information to help you create a solid business case for why this is a necessary event for your role in your organization. Use this justification listing of benefits to present the value of attending.

We can weave these numbers throughout the doc - 4 plenary sessions with inspiring keynote speakers; 30+ concurrent sessions; 230+ concurrent session speakers; 2 major receptions (Chairman's on Sunday and Networking Reception on Tuesday) in addition to short networking and refreshment breaks in between sessions; 60+ exhibitors; attendees from over a dozen countries; multiple educational tours


What is this conference?

Annual Conference is the world's largest yearly gathering of economic developers.

The conference attracts economic developers, consultants, government officials, university-based economic developers and thought leaders to discuss a broad range of economic development topics. The conference and its ancillary events provide attendees with numerous educational tours, networking opportunities and dozens of sessions that highlight best practice case studies from around the world. Registration for this event averages from between 1,200 - 1,500 attendees.


What is the International Economic Development Council?

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 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, IEDC 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.


Why do you need to attend?

For more than 90 years the conference has been the premier event for economic development practitioners with a common purpose: to share information and ideas about how to improve economic well-being and the quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base. Annual Conference draws attendees from all of North America and many countries, including Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, New Zealand and Spain. This is the only yearly event of this size for the profession.


What tangible benefits will our community receive?

Professional development in continuing education:

Quick takeaways:

• Four plenary sessions led with inspiring keynote speakers
• Five economic development conference tracks
• 30+ concurrent sessions
• 230+ concurrent session speakers

Professional development offers long-term training and skills enhancement benefits to economic developers. There are many plenary sessions led by industry experts; concurrent sessions which offer in-depth discussions and question-and-answer periods on current and future trends, and educational tours throughout the host city, which offer upfront, practical examples of solutions that could work in your community. There are five content tracks which cover:

1. Building local linkages and expanding global trade
2. How to build up the creative class
3. How to identify and align resources with entrepreneurial ecosystems
4. Regional collaboration for investment promotion
5. Foundational principles of economic development, including business retention, marketing and real estate development and reuse

The program will feature more than 30 concurrent sessions and more than 230 speakers from around the world that will be sharing tips and tricks on how to achieve continued and sustainable growth in your community.


Review and discussion on best practices:

The responsibilities of economic developers continue to shift as new industries and technologies emerge. Staying current on it all, learning the most efficient ways to approach new responsibilities and sharing examples firsthand with attendees allows your community to anticipate, understand and adapt to changes both in the policy environment and in professional practice. There are also opportunities to benchmark against communities of similar size and profiles. The Town Hall sessions at the conference will be an opportunity for conference attendees to speak candidly with similar sized communities about the challenges they face, the opportunities they are creating for themselves, and what lies ahead for their communities.


Networking benefits:

There are numerous networking opportunities during Annual Conference. IEDC hosts several receptions, including a Chairman's reception which allows members to network with the 2017 board chair, board of directors, members from around the nation, vendors and more professionals of influence. There is also a Networking Reception on Tuesday that will allow attendees to get to know each other even better and to form crucial relationships before the conference concludes. In addition to networking events, IEDC strategically creates daily agendas that allow peers to engage one-on-one throughout the entire conference.


Team capacity building:

If your team members are joining, you, be sure to offer the benefits of learning and networking alongside your office colleagues. This allows everyone to get the same information at the same time, maximizing opportunities for implementation when you return home. Be sure to share the 10% discount for groups of four in your explanation.


Vendor relations benefits:

Connecting first-hand with vendors who could provide new services to your community is ideal. This is an opportunity to ask questions in-person and see demonstrations. Vendors at Annual Conference represent several purchasing priorities for economic developers, including advertising, marketing and public relations services, subscription and database services, consulting services, fundraising services, and software, including GIS and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Dozens of vendors exhibit during IEDC's Annual Conference.


Post-Annual Conference information sharing with your community:

Share how you intend to bring back home and share with your community what you learned during Annual Conference. This will help people who did not attend take advantage of your experience, and will ensure your organization sees the value of the time and financial investment. Offer to include some or all in your post-Annual Conference reporting:

• Plenary keynote speaker highlights, including new ideas and key research findings
• Concurrent session highlights
• New contacts made during networking sessions
• Relationship-building with existing contacts during networking sessions
• Information from vendors, including new products and services
• Ideas and benefits of immediate implementation of new ideas based on information learned