Dates: September 14-15, 2017

Location: Toronto, ON

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This highly interactive course lets participants work in small teams to help understand the complexity of strategic planning and its challenges. Economic developers must build consensus among board members, stakeholders and the community as a whole, creating a unified vision for the future. Learn techniques to build consensus among stakeholders who represent different values and interests. Also, participants will learn the quantitative techniques used to better understand their community including: location quotients, shift share, input-output and cluster analyses. Explore project assessment methods for setting priorities and measuring your plan's impact.


Course Highlights:

• Stakeholder analysis, structuring participation, planning fundamentals
• Consensus building, group facilitation and conflict
• Defining geography, competitive advantage and SWOT
• Determining vision, mission, goals and objectives
• Demand-side strategies and supply-side strategies
• Identifying projects, strategy formation and implementation
• Setting realistic benchmarks and measuring success
• Exploring the use of dashboard indicators



  • ThursdaySeptember 14
  • FridaySeptember 15
8:30 AM


9:00 AM

Introduction to Planning

Why do communities become involved in economic development strategic planning efforts? This session will examine the benefits of developing an economic development plan and will provide an overview of the various stages in the strategic planning process. The session will also outline the goals and expectations for the course. Participants will be asked to share their experiences from strategic plans efforts they have participated in.

10:15 AM

Organizing for ED Strategic Planning

One of the most important aspects of strategic planning is the pre-planning phase of the process. Practitioners need to know who the plan is serving and must organize a team that will work together to carry out the process. A great deal of leadership and team building is necessary and the planning team must establish a clear timeline for developing the plan. This session will discuss the values and cultures that the planning team must build upon or establish during formation. Building consensus among planning team members is a major component in the strategic planning process. The team that is put together must include many different stakeholders representing a number of values and interests. After the pre-planning phase, the practitioner must establish a sense of ownership and consensus among those participating in the planning process as well the general community.

11:00 AM

Consensus Building/Stakeholder Ownership

In a recent examination of successful economic development efforts, consensus-building was highlighted as a key activity for moving the planning process forward. Stakeholders must have ownership of the plan, which means they should play large roles throughout the process. This session will examine various methods to engage stakeholders and keep them involved in the process. Although building consensus may take time, it is imperative if the process is to succeed.

12:00 PM

Lunch on your own

1:30 PM

Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies

By establishing a clear vision with an understandable mission statement, the team can develop goals in a more effective manner. This session will discuss this widely overlooked but extremely important phase of the planning process. Leadership involvement, organizing for accountability and starting the prioritization process of projects will be included.

2:45 PM

Organizational Strategic Planning

Once a communityís goals are established, itís important to look internally at the capacity of the economic development organization (EDO) to implement the plan. The EDO may need to adjust budget and staffing and/or identify additional resources to implement special projects. Learn how to put organizational processes and resources in place to meet plan goals.

3:45 PM

Case Study Review & Discussion

9:00 AM

Analysis for ED Strategic Planning

The next two sessions cover how to both qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate your community. This session will introduce methods with which to do an economic base analysis, including location quotients, shift-share and specialization ratios. Input-output analysis and cluster analysis will also be discussed briefly. Once attendees have discussed the types of data to collect and the types of analysis that are applicable, how are the data used, interpreted and applied to the future needs of the community? The planning process will be influenced by the type of data that is collected and the conclusions made from that data.

10:30 AM

Techniques for Assessing Economic Data and Dashboard Indicators

The strategic planning process requires a great deal of analysis to understand the forces at work in the community. This session will discuss how to gather information on the local community, including an economic assessment and an analysis of real and perceived strengths and weaknesses. This session will also cover dashboard indicators which are relatively new economic development tools that gauge the overall performance of a local or regional economy.

12:00 PM

Lunch on your own

1:30 PM

Strategic Project/Initiative Identification and Implementation

One key element to consider when creating an action plan is how to prioritize the projects that will help achieve the planís goals. The process for prioritizing includes determining from where resources are coming and the benefits and outcomes for each project. This critical phase of the planning process identifies the major initiatives and programs that the overall plan will address. What is realistic given the communityís constraints? What resources will be tapped for each project? How does the community decide which projects are realistic and feasible given the current situation, potential future situation and the given resources?

Additionally, economic development practitioners must build support for the programs and projects to be implemented. During the implementation stage, a number of political and competition issues may arise. The practitioner must address these issues in advance with by developing an implementation plan.

2:30 PM


Although listed as the final step to the planning process, the choice of benchmarks and ways in which to monitor the progress in the plan need to be considered throughout the process. At this stage, specific measurements must not only be set in place, but a process with which to measure those measurements must be solidified. This includes tapping into other resources and leveraging information that is already available in the community. This session will also look at how annual reports can be used as a tool to communicate progress toward plan goals.

3:45 PM

Bringing it all Together

This session allows participants to examine the best application of the practices outlined during the last two days with regard to their specific communities. The training facilitators will serve on a panel to answer questions and provide recommendations to address any challenges or successes associated with economic development planning. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss what has been most helpful to them throughout the workshop as well as areas that require more attention.

* Agenda subject to change

**PLEASE NOTE: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, participants must attend the entire course and stay through the final session on the last day. Please make travel plans accordingly.**


Eric McSweeney, CEcD, EcD(F), CCIM, ALC

McSweeney & Associates

Anne Roise, CEcD MCP

Instructor, Urban Studies & Planning
Savannah State University


CEcD logo

This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.




Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
123 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2M9


Fairmont Royal York
100 Front St W
Toronto, ON M5J 1E3

IEDC group rate: $284 CAD single/double occupancy (plus applicable taxes and fees)





By Aug 4

Aug 5 - Sept 1

*After Sept 1

IEDC Member

$490 USD/CAD

$630 USD/CAD

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$640 USD/CAD

$780 USD/CAD

$800 USD/CAD

Full Time Student**

$105 USD/CAD

$125 USD/CAD

$145 USD/CAD

*Walk-in registrations will be accepted. Full payment must be made on-site in order to attend the course.

**Copy of current transcript required.

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Refunds less a $60 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $60 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.