EconomicDevelopment.org http://economicdevelopment.org Economic Development News & Insight Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:10:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 The Higher ED Blog: The return on investment of community gardens http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/09/higher-ed-roi-of-community-gardens/ http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/09/higher-ed-roi-of-community-gardens/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 12:55:31 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=301416 More...]]> Food. We all need it. But getting it to our tables is getting more complicated all the time. Carolyn Steel claims food is “one of the greatest forces shaping the world.” As populations concentrate in urban areas and the agricultural industry faces mounting environmental pressures, urban farming is stepping in. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and other major Canadian cities are seeing urban agriculture grow by leaps and bounds.

Despite this growing interest, however, the value of urban agriculture is rarely expressed in a way that fits into the dollar-focused language of the boardroom. My research is hoping to change that.

I quantified five potential outputs of one form of urban agriculture (UA)—community gardens—and conducted a municipal-level return on investment (ROI) for a case study garden in Kitchener. I wanted to find out whether an ROI analysis was feasible with the data available, but also whether ROI was an effective way to communicate a community garden’s value. I found that my case study garden would be ROI-positive within three years of operation.  

Money may not grow on trees, but municipalities can achieve significant returns on investment in community gardens.

Community gardens commonly occupy underused urban spaces to grow food or ornamental plants. They serve as hubs of social, environmental and economic returns including food budget savings, increased neighbourhood property values, environmental services such as stormwater management, increased community wellbeing and improved individual health.

I considered five potential community garden benefits using the Kitchener case study site, estimating their dollar value while deducting the approximate city-incurred costs for establishing and maintaining the garden. Those benefits are shown in the table below.

Social Economic
Food Security Produce Value
Mental health Property Value
Neighbourhood Safety and Crime

 

For example, several studies have identified improved food security as an output of community gardens. I was able to quantify food security by obtaining food insecurity rates in Waterloo Region, applying a study on the healthcare costs of food insecure versus food secure households, and assuming participation at the community garden enabled one household to move from severe to moderate food insecurity. Avoided food insecurity-related healthcare costs amount to $600 per year using these calculations.

Most of the studies on community gardens cannot be applied to other contexts given how different each community garden is. Also, there is very little data available at the local level. Thus, these estimates are just that, estimates, rather than comprehensive calculations.

Even as ballpark figures, however, this small set of  potential benefits of a community garden are sufficient to yield an estimated $28,000 in returns over a 5-year period based on the case study site. That leaves a lot of wiggle room for error. And that’s not even including the long list of potential garden benefits that I wasn’t able to include due to the lack of data.

While limited in their ability to capture complex social and environmental variables, return on investment analyses are useful in providing a familiar language to gauge the viability of a project. They are therefore an important starting point in communicating the significance of community gardens in an economic system mediated by the common exchange value of money. Local-level data must be expanded to enable more accurate ROI assessments of community gardens, as it is clear that their potential contributions to economic, community and environmental wellbeing is significant.

An aging agricultural labour force, shrinking agricultural lands and mounting environmental pressures are all challenges that affect our access to healthy food. Meanwhile, community gardens creatively make use of available spaces for food production where demand exists. Municipalities across Canada can now transform underused spaces into productive plots of land, bringing food closer to home and fostering more resilient neighbourhoods. My research has shown that community gardens can also yield economic returns.

Are you reaping the harvest?

 

About the author

Susie Cochran is a master’s student at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environment’s Economic Development and Innovation program. Her research was supported by Dr. Leia Minaker in the School of Planning. It focuses on the role of community gardens in local, sustainable food systems, and on translating their benefits into a quantitative form through return on investment analysis. Susie is excited to dive into community development efforts in Waterloo Region upon completion of her master’s this fall.

About the series 

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

Social media 

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev

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The Higher ED Blog: Celebrating industry-leading women from University of Waterloo’s professional development and Masters programs at this year’s EDAC conference http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/08/higher-ed-uw-women-edac-conference/ http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/08/higher-ed-uw-women-edac-conference/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 13:00:28 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=301160 More...]]> This week’s article is one of pride.  

University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program is proud of each and every one of its participants over the years, and never are we happier than when our current or former students become educators themselves.  

This year in Niagara Falls, many wonderful presenters and panelists will discuss the latest advances in the field at the Economic Developers Association of Canada annual conference. Today we showcase four talks being done by former and current students of our professional development and Masters programs, and how these accomplished women are advancing the profession. 

 

Bonnie Brown is the Manager of Sector Development and Economic Partnerships at City of Mississauga. She received her Economic Development certificate back in 2002. She will be discussing her involvement in the development of a cutting-edge life sciences cluster in Mississauga. 

It takes a strong and engaged ecosystem to build a life sciences cluster, and was proven in the development of Canada’s first municipal life sciences cluster strategy.  Through extensive research, consultation and industry collaboration, the City of Mississauga launched a Life Sciences Cluster Strategy that will propel the growth and sustainability of the sector over the next five years.  

Through this session, you will learn about the importance of stakeholder engagement in developing a life sciences strategy that will impact an entire industry.  This session will also cover lessons learned and best practices in strategy development and offer a practical understanding of cluster development for your community.   

Gaining trust and commitment from key industry stakeholders is key. Come learn how the City of Mississauga was able to unify, strengthen and grow Canada’s second largest life sciences cluster. 

Session 
5 Year Mississauga Life Sciences Cluster Strategy – Connecting the Innovation
Sunday, September 10th, 1:15 pm 

 

Eleanor Miclette is the Manager of Economic Development and Community Services for the County of Northern Lights. She is receiving her Certificate in Economic Development at the EDAC conference this year! Congratulations, Eleanor!  

Like many rural communities, she hears from her business owners firsthand the struggle of doing business in a rural community. Phrases like “too rural,” “too remote,” and “out of the way” are commonplace.  

Research tells us that 80% of growth comes from what we already have within our regions. Building capacity, growing our strength from within, and enabling our entrepreneurs to succeed has become our main focus.  

In North Western Alberta, they have learned to work collaboratively to see growth happen from within. National award-winning regional partnership projects such as www.thinklocalmarket.com, Move-up Magazine, Peace Oil Sands Conference, and Paddle the Peace have all started here, each with the goals to grow capacity, enhance quality of life and expand markets. What started as a local project to promote thinking local and acting global changed into a provincial success story with thinklocalmarket.com 

Session 
Think Local, Act Global: Creative Partnerships to Boost Community Economic Development
Monday, September 11th, 11 am 

 

Alison Anderson is the founder and CEO of Successionmatching, and attended EDP’s Year 1 and 2 back in 2010. She is a passionate data analysis professional dedicated to helping EDOs understand their small businesses’ succession challenges, and take action!  

In a culture that often dramatizes entrepreneurship as a quick and easy path to fame and fortune, we need to do our best to give youth realistic paths for long-term entrepreneurial success. Only ten percent of startups are successful after five years, but seventy percent of people who buy a business succeed during their first five years. 

September is a perfect time to celebrate new beginnings as many Canadians look to take their first steps into business. SuccessionMatching wants to change the conversation and set new entrepreneurs up for success.  

By using data from the website, the company is able to identify pain points that individuals interested in buying a business and business owners experience throughout their transition process. Alison’s presentation will include an overview of the data and how economic development professionals can better attract international investment and youth to their communities.  

Session 
Youth Retention and Investment Attraction through Business Transitions
Sunday, September 10th, 1:15 pm 

 

Gillian Hatton is the founder of Location Strategies Limited, and will be starting her Masters of Economic Development and Innovation with the University of Waterloo this fall. At the EDAC conference, she will be sharing her knowledge of disruptive tech in advanced manufacturing, and how we can all get on board!

New technologies are driving the evolution of higher-value added manufacturing. Additive manufacturing (3-D printing), advanced robotics, nanomaterials, the automation of knowledge work, to the ‘digitization of everything’ have the potential to disrupt existing markets and to create billions of dollars of economic value. These technologies will be significant components of future economic growth through providing higher quality jobs and driving innovation. Communities that do not embrace these trends risk being left behind.

Her seminar will demonstrate ways in which your community can capitalize on new advanced manufacturing technologies to enable its future prosperity. Key takeaways from the seminar will be:

  • The important technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing
  • How your community can align its assets with these technologies
  • Case studies demonstrating best practice with key takeaways for your community
  • Understand how to leverage your region’s attributes to take advantage of new and emerging technology trends
  • Provide the foundation for a roadmap to a successful and sustainable advanced manufacturing strategy

Session
New Advanced Manufacturing Technologies – How Communities Can Capitalize
Monday, September 11th, 11 am

*** 

As always, EDP is looking forward to seeing their students in action this September! Stop by our booth to say hi and talk about our next year of programming! And if you haven’t yet, check out our post-conference two-day seminar on value-added agriculture here. 

 

About the conference 

The Economic Developers’ Association of Canada is hosting its 49th annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario from September 9th to 12th at the Marriott on the Falls. This year’s theme is Canada 150+: New Beginnings in Economic Development. 

About the author 

Meg Ronson is the editor of Higher ED, Outreach Manager for the Economic Development Program and Masters candidate of Economic Development and Innovation at University of Waterloo. Her research involves studying credit unions and co-operative businesses as potential tools for strengthening and diversifying local economies, and is currently engaged in a project investigating co-operative solutions to the small business succession issue in Ontario and Canada. 

About the series 

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article. 

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally. 

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners. 

Social media 

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev 

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The Higher ED Blog: Tough Talk from an Industry Veteran on Talent Attraction and Retention http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/08/higher-ed-tough-talk/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:55:53 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300829 More...]]> Is it possible not to notice that thousands or tens of thousands of people have moved to your region? Apparently so.

Over my 22 years conducting research for economic development organizations, I have observed that the appetite for comprehensive understanding of socio-economic characteristics, trends and performance is declining. In a world that is more competitive and complicated this cannot be a good thing.

I worry about communities’ ability to be successful with economic development initiatives when they lack a basic, necessary understanding of their socio-economic characteristics. Believing you have 8,000 businesses locally when there are actually 32,000 can’t be helpful. Dismissing the importance of your manufacturing sector because employment is down may be foolish. Building an industrial park for a business sector that is in steep decline seems impractical. Not realizing that your fastest growing business segment is unlikely to pay property tax may have negative consequences.

Take, for example, the proliferation of approaches aimed at getting people to move to your community. Almost every strategic economic plan speaks to the critical importance of talent attraction (and retention). This is why economic development is so heavily invested in place marketing and a plethora of attraction and retention strategies. Whether it’s the creative class, youth, families, skilled tradespersons or technology workers, the goal is to attract and retain people.

But what do communities actually know about people who move? Very little. In fact, the majority of communities lack a basic understanding of the number and characteristics of people who move in and out of their communities.

Compounding this lack of insight is the mislaid emphasis on net population change. This keen focus on net population growth widely understates the churn of people moving in and out of communities. Even regions experiencing net population loss attract people. The fact is that every community – from rural regions to large cities – attract and lose a significant number of people on a regular basis. The net number is simply the end result, which fails miserably at representing the volume, factors behind and consequences of population churn.

While primarily working in Ontario, I have found the sentiment of many communities is that it is difficult to compete for skill/talent with Toronto or Waterloo. Once again, it is a lack of understanding that contributes to this view.

As the data shows, Toronto loses far more people to other Ontario communities than it attracts. Toronto’s intra-provincial migration characteristics reveal consistent, annual net losses (a net loss of more than 25,000 people in 2014-2015 time period alone). In fairness, Toronto excels at attracting immigrants, explaining its population growth.

Turning to Waterloo Region, an analysis of people who moved (excluding immigrants) into and out of Waterloo and their employment income reveals that this region had a net loss of people who earn $60,000 or more, which is surprising if we assume that higher paying jobs are more skilled. Furthermore, Waterloo Region also had a net gain of people who earn less than $30,000. Not what you would expect based on its image.

There’s more. Communities concerned about not being able to pay “big city” wages must realize they don’t always need to. While more than half the number of people who move into a community receive a pay increase (the proportion varies from region to region), plenty of people receive a pay decrease after their move.

People move for a variety of reasons – nice place to live, proximity to family, affordable housing – not only a pay cheque.

We engage in local economic development because communities are different, and generic solutions will not work. Understanding these differences is important. For example, Sudbury is great at attracting people, but poor at retaining people. Essex is great at retaining people but poor at attracting people.  Different approaches are justified, but must be built upon a solid understanding of the local socio-economic characteristics.

We have to be careful not to be swept up in conventional knowledge that is not supported by evidence. We require a comprehensive understanding of what we are trying to address. We can’t be ignorant, at least not if we want to be constructive.

 

About the author

Paul Knafelc is an economic researcher, as well as founder and President of Community Benchmarks Inc.  As a recognized leader in local socio-economic metrics and interpretation, Paul regularly serves as a ‘consultant to the consultant’ in this regard. He has established a reputation for developing innovative data products for public and private organizations. Paul also teaches a graduate course, “Analytical tools and techniques for economic development” for the Masters of Economic Development and Innovation program at the University of Waterloo.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

Social media

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev

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We Are All In This Together: Economic Development Crowdfunding http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/08/we-are-all-in-this-together-economic-development-crowdfunding/ Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:47:20 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300861 More...]]> The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” can also apply for businesses and economic development projects. The rise of online donation and financing platforms, coupled with the decline in available funding for economic development has led to a growing trend in crowdfunding to complete economic development projects. Crowdfunding is the use of small amounts of capital from a number of individuals to finance a project or business. Crowdfunding is applicable through three models: donations, lending and investment in exchange for equity.

In the field of economic development, crowdfunding has been used to finance entrepreneurial endeavors and real estate development. Entrepreneurs often have limited access to capital. These individuals usually go to traditional circles of friends and family for venture capital. The application of crowdfunding expands the pool of investors beyond these individuals, opening the entrepreneur to a greater amount of capital and a larger market. Entrepreneurs are able to vet their ideas in the market and gain insight from potential investors on ways to improve the product. Investors or donors often receive gifts or discounts from their contribution to campaigns.

For larger economic development initiatives, particularly real estate, crowdfunding is becoming more popular. Crowdfunding investors in real estate take a larger risk in projects and must follow stricter regulations. Real estate crowdfunding often distinguishes investors based upon minimum amounts of investment. The most common investment requirement is a minimum of $5,000. Like any real estate endeavor, investors need to conduct their research before contributing to a project. Unlike investments in small entrepreneurial products, real estate development requires a great deal more time and risk.

In 2015, the University of Cambridge Judge Business School reported crowdfunding in real estate transactions topped $1.2 billion. The National Crowdfunding Association reported over 500 active crowdfunding platforms available in 2012 with the number rising. Over $5.1 billion has been raised through crowdfunding platforms worldwide. With the amount of transactions and individuals participating in the crowdfunding process, it is valuable for governments, economic development agencies, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to take notice.

As with any undertaking, there are a number of considerations to take before investing or donating. Crowdfunding has its risks and rewards. Conduct ample research on the product or investment you are willing to make before doing so. It also is beneficial to research the crowdfunding platform you are planning to use. The National Crowd Funding Association of Canada and the Crowd Funding Professional Organization are two groups that can assist in determining the validity of a crowdfunding site.

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The Higher ED Blog: Perth County Pilots Youth Engagement Strategy http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/07/higher-ed-youth-engagement-pilot/ Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:55:43 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300758 More...]]> On August 15th, the University of Waterloo’s Community, Health, Environment, Communications (CHEC) Initiative is holding a presentation exploring the transformative potential of community-based participatory action research. Panelist Ryan Deska of OMAFRA will share his experiences with youth engagement in the local government and local economic development context in Perth County. The following is a guest blog post that discusses the process by which the community piloted a new youth engagement initiative.

In the spring of 2016 a number of stars aligned that led to the implementation of a new process for gathering and interpreting community level data. This process was a partnership between a number of visionary community level stakeholders who took a chance on a new idea.

The idea itself came together through conversations at the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit. This event had identified youth in rural Ontario as the primary theme for the event. The experiences, opportunities and challenges facing youth across rural Ontario were front and centre for all attendees.

“By bringing together a wide cross section of rural Ontario, including youth, provincial and municipal representatives and private and public organizations, we have created a truly collaborative approach for sharing ideas and learning from each other to build a bright future for rural Ontario.” – Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs referring to the 2016 Rural Ontario Summit.

This philosophy proved to be effective – practitioners working in the field came together to zero in on an issue, share ideas and draw new connections.

Development

At the time, Perth County was in the early stages of a strategic planning initiative for workforce development, specifically focusing on youth attraction and retention; they were looking at different ways to gather data to inform their strategic plans. The Rural Ontario Institute had recently completed research looking at the ongoing issue of succession planning for municipal leadership; they noticed a recurring message – “our youth are not engaged in municipal politics. We’re struggling to engage youth in our communities in meaningful ways”. The Brock Youth Centre was actively engaged with their local high school, building entrepreneurship skills through a hands-on, business pitch competition.

In bringing together these different perspectives, an idea for a new youth engagement process was born.

This youth engagement process was designed to:

  • Engage students in their communities, and foster an appreciation for the value of civic engagement
  • Support students in “learning by doing”
  • Gather data to inform Perth County’s community-driven strategic planning process

Execution

Ken Van Osch, a teacher with Listowel District Secondary School (LDSS) saw merit in this idea and agreed to pilot this process through his grade 12 independent study course. Three students selected this project as part of their coursework and final deliverables, and completed their deliverables over the course of the semester.

Students were provided with a high level structure for community engagement, a process outline to follow and ongoing community coaching and support from North Perth Community Information Coordinator Kim Kowch and OMAFRA regional advisor Vicki Lass.

To complete the process and to satisfy course requirements, students were required to:

  • Research and summarize the key issues involved with youth migration, rural population decline, and rural community vitality.
  • Research principles of municipal governance, priorities facing municipal councils, and the scope of decision making abilities at the municipal level
  • Review a wide variety of public engagement techniques
  • Develop an appropriate plan for consulting peers in a high school setting
  • Conduct consultations with peers around issues affecting youth migration and community vitality
  • Collect, sort and analyze data, looking for key themes
  • Present findings to municipal council

Impact

The students’ research was well received by council and community leaders in attendance during their presentation. Some of the main findings included:

  • Students felt they were being pushed away from home in the lesson plans they were hearing, the field trips they were taking and the degrees they were encouraged to pursue
  • Students identified a need for a safe place for local youth to socialize away from adult interference
  • Students didn’t feel they had a voice in their community – that they were not being asked about issues relevant to them

The students’ feedback was well received by the community, and they were encouraged to share their study more broadly, from the library board to LDSS staff to community service providers. It proved quite impactful for those who heard the students’ findings to have it coming from youth themselves.

“When we started this project, we wondered why we were even doing it – we didn’t think anyone was interested in hearing what we had to say.” – Sydney McCourt, LDSS Student

“Some of the findings from this study has had an impact in my overall approach to teaching. It’s not a unit, it’s not an assignment or a lesson, it’s part of my daily messaging. I’ve reframed the messaging in my lessons to focus on what happens here, or what businesses are here instead of pushing students to everything that is out “there”.” – Ken Van Osch, LDSS teacher

“It was really cool to have the community feedback. That just doesn’t happen for other students. This is something that you carry on, not a report that you hand in and forget about. I think a lot of people think high school students do projects that aren’t relevant, but to actually do something that’s important is really cool” – Wynter Alexander, LDSS Student

“For a lot of students there are deep rooted feelings about the community but no venue to express them. This was one of the first times for them. You could sense a weight coming off their chest.” – Jeremy, LDSS Student

***

To hear more about this initiative, its impact and uptake in the community, join us at the University of Waterloo’s Fed Hall, Columbia Rooms A&B from 11:30 am to 3 pm. Ryan Deska, Economic Development Specialist with OMAFRA’s Regional Economic Development Branch will share more stories in conversation with fellow panelists. RSVPs to the event must be sent to Tanya Markvart before August 8th, as space is limited.

Tanya Markvart, Ph.D., M.E.S.
Director of Research and Programming
Community, Health, Environment, Communications (CHEC) Initiative, University of Waterloo
Adjunct Professor, School of Planning, University of Waterloo
Email: tmarkvar@uwaterloo.ca  Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 23015

 

About the panelist

Ryan Deska is an Economic Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs and was one of the process designers of the youth engagement initiative in Perth County. One current area of focus in Ryan’s work is supporting communities in addressing the demographic challenges facing rural Ontario, and the impacts these have on economic sustainability and community vitality. Ryan will also be presenting as a part of University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program’s two-day seminar, Delicious Development: Economic Opportunities in Value-Added Agriculture, running September 13th to 14th, 2017.

About the author

Meg Ronson is the editor of Higher ED, Outreach Manager for the Economic Development Program and Masters candidate of Economic Development and Innovation at University of Waterloo. Her research involves studying credit unions and co-operative businesses as potential tools for strengthening and diversifying local economies, and is currently engaged in a project investigating co-operative solutions to the small business succession issue in Ontario and Canada.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

Social media

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev

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The Higher ED Blog: 4 Board Games an Economic Developer Will Love http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/07/higher-ed-board-games/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:55:49 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300611 More...]]> Rainy summer days or weekend nights at the cottage call for some quality indoor time with friends and family. If you’re anything like me, that means only one thing: time for some board games! But instead of reaching for the old classics like Clue, Monopoly, or Scrabble, why not break out a new game that’s a little more up your professional alley? And just think – if you’re playing with your children, nieces or nephews, you very well could be grooming the next great EDO without their even knowing it…

Suburbia (2012)
Designed by Ted Alspach
Published by Bezier Games
1-4 players

Any economic developer who works closely with planners will immediately catch on to this surprisingly fun neighbourhood-building game. It’s categorized as a ‘tile-laying’ and ‘resource management’ game, which means players build their board as they go, while they collect and allocate resources towards accomplishing their goal. The goal is to attract more people to your town than all the other players. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The mechanics of the game are such that, although each player is building their own town, they can intervene in each other’s development by buying an available tile that they know the other player needs. The game awards population bonuses based on how well you combine and place your tiles, so it’s important to think through your town planning carefully. After each turn, a player gets a certain amount of income based on their board, and also a population increase based on their reputation. However, every time their population passes a certain threshold, their reputation will decrease. Growth management is real, even in board games!

Puerto Rico (2002)
Designed by Andreas Seyfarth
Published by Rio Grande Games
2-5 players

Puerto Rico is one of the most popular and highly rated board games ever, but it also happens to be an excellent economic development-themed game. Set in Puerto Rico, players are given the role of governor of new colonial settlements. The object of the game is to establish the most successful settlement by attracting colonists to your city, building developments in the city, and shipping produced goods from the city.

Gameplay is turn-based, with every round beginning with whomever holds the “governor” token, which is passed around clockwise at every turn. Players take turns selecting ‘role’ cards, like “trader” or “builder,” and taking the special action that their roles grant them.

In a lot of ways, its premise is similar to Suburbia but with a different, role-based structure, and instead of a single urban plan, you are managing resources for an entire region. The mercantile aspect of producing goods for trade is also a feature that mimics economic developers’ industrial interests.

Worker Placement (2014)
Designed by Mark C. MacKinnon
Published by Dyskami Publishing Company
2-5 players

In the game Worker Placement, each player represents a different worker placement agency within a city, and the goal is to amass as much money and get as good a reputation as possible. You do this by finding workers jobs in the city. Different jobs require different kinds of skills, which players amass for their workers by visiting different skill development locations in town.

The game involves lots of competition with other players for resources and advantages, and the workforce development angle is another one that economic developers are familiar with. It’s a relatively simple game to learn and to play, and you can also choose how long you want to play, so it’s a good game to play with younger children that will get them thinking about the trials and challenges of finding work for the people in a community.

Pandemic (2008)
Designed by Matt Leacock
Published by Z-Man Games
2-4 players

Pandemic is a hugely popular co-operative board game, meaning the players are working together to win the game rather than competing against one another. The premise of the game is that several terrible viruses have broken out around the world, and each player is part of a task-force to stop the spread of the diseases and find cures. So yes, the plot of the board game might not have anything to do with economic development, but the mechanics are an EDO’s bread and butter.

At the beginning of the game, each player is assigned a role with a unique skill that enhances the team’s ability to do their job. As the game progresses, “outbreaks” can occur that speed up the spread of a virus from city to city. Players move around the world, strategically treating infected sections of the map, building research stations, and amassing disease cards to find a cure. Working together and playing to each players’ strengths, executing continuous sequences of damage control, and dealing with place-based crises, this game in a lot of ways mimics an economic developer’s day-to-day, only instead of managing resources and economic activity, you’re managing horrible illnesses. Same kind of job, different stakes.

***

Board games for economic developers are indeed fun for the whole family! So consider stopping by your local board game café, shop or library and find out how transferrable your skills in economic development really are, board game style!

 

About the author

Meg Ronson is the editor of Higher ED, Outreach Manager for the Economic Development Program and Masters candidate of Economic Development and Innovation at University of Waterloo. Her research involves studying credit unions and co-operative businesses as potential tools for strengthening and diversifying local economies, and is currently engaged in a project investigating co-operative solutions to the small business succession issue in Ontario and Canada.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

Social media

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev

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The Higher ED Blog: What’s new in economic development research (summer 2017 edition) http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/07/the-higher-ed-blog-whats-new-in-economic-development-research-summer-2017-edition/ Tue, 04 Jul 2017 13:00:47 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300367 More...]]> The Higher ED Blog publishes a quarterly economic development research roundup that shares new research practitioners might find useful. The series draws from Economic Development QuarterlyRegional Studies, the Journal of Rural Studies, and other reputable peer-reviewed academic journals.

Targeted employment growth programs grounded in flimsy evidence

Economic developers like to approach labour force development with solid, evidence-supported tools. But what if those tools are built around shaky research? A recent study cautions that some economic development programs, specifically ones that target particular firm characteristics like firm age, firm size, and industry sector, might not be the best bet.

In examining existing research on employment and firm characteristics, the study found that, depending on what, where, or when you are looking at, you can churn out most any result. To that end, the researchers highlight an econometric rule that states that just because a variable is statistically significant does not necessarily mean that it will be a good policy instrument.

The paper attempts to make sense of often conflicting results in this space by analyzing the same dataset using a variety of models. They found that the results were highly sensitive to the model being chosen, demonstrating that nearly any policy can find support in academic research. Thus, any economic development programming that is based on employment growth within specific firm categories should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

Read more: Weak Foundations in Economic Development Programs, Economic Development Quarterly, volume 31(2)

Understanding the ‘smart city’ concept and what it means for urban policy

With big data comes big responsibility, or so we hear. As technology continues to change the way we approach the world, so too will it shape how economic developers approach their policies, and nowhere is that more evident than in scholarship on ‘smart cities.’ Researchers in Europe want policy-makers to start thinking through the growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and what kinds of opportunities it presents in managing and planning urban spaces.

The study first describes the evolution of urban centres and the increasing tendency for people to congregate in cities, which can range from densely packed areas to expansive sprawl. The creation and development of spatial networks along these lines has led to new ways of understanding and studying regional economies, thereby necessitating ever greater and constantly-upgrading information systems to manage them. Some very exciting developments have arisen in this space, including geo-imaging applications to social media to help urban stakeholders and policy-makers better understand their own cities. We are also finding new ways of mapping physical- and cyber- interactions between urban actors, with a study of London, England having recently undergone an analysis of such flows within their local economy.

It has become possible for cities to access and analyze the unique movements of people within their boundaries and develop policies and plans based on where people are to improve accessibility, utilities, social linkages and its overall attractiveness as a result. When considering the kind of insights that are available through analyzing simple smartphone ‘big data,’ the implications for economic development, and its sister professions like tourism and business development, are profound. It is already possible to analyze the clustering of people around certain attractions through cellphone use patterns, or even the frequency with which photos were posted on social media of a certain area.

The article concludes by stressing the need to expand our collection and use of data in order to inform urban initiatives and strategies and ground them in statistics and knowledge. To that end, every city can leverage new technologies and their own unique agglomeration trends to become ‘smart,’ so long as they commit to updating their information systems and tapping into that rich, complex sea that is big data.

Read more: The significance of digital data systems for smart city policy, Socio-economic Planning Sciences, volume 58

What’s to be done about retiring small business owners in rural communities?

Rural communities are facing a new demographic challenge in small business retention: retiring owners. A new article provides an updated perspective on the issue by conducting research in rural cities in Minnesota, addressing a gap in our knowledge on what the communities themselves can do to face this issue head on.

First, focused interviews with different stakeholders in the succession space found numerous barriers that retiring business owners face when looking to exit their business. Broad themes include lack of awareness of the process, lack of available credit for potential buyers, and lack of resources and support for the transition.

The next phase involved identifying recent cases of successful business transitions and interviewing the new owners on this process. The findings indicated that successful new owners had pooled numerous resources in order to complete their purchase, identifying an average of 2.3 very important resources and 3.8 very or moderately important important resources. Banks were consistently considered the most important resource, while local governments and small business centres much less so, perhaps due to lack of awareness of their services and support. The new owners also cited a need for mentorship and guidance from other local business owners.

Various case studies in the state identified locally offered, targeted resources like business succession planning programs as helpful if they were affordable, or framed in such a way as to be accessible to all business owners and not just those looking to retire. There were also instances where communities rallied around their cherished local firms to convert them into co-operatively owned businesses. In all cases, the crucial ingredients to a successful conversion involved networking and leveraging social capital, knowing about and tapping into available resources, access to financial assistance, and involving the community in projects and leadership.

At the end of the day, there is a big incentive to ensure that local businesses stay in the community. When examining a recently purchased business’s performance before and after an ownership transition, the study found that 41% reported employing more people, 68% reported increasing their customer base, and 68% reported increasing their sales volume.

There are many practical take-aways from the research. Encouraging business owners to undergo formal valuations of their firm, offering them workshops and other programming on succession planning, facilitating community networks and keeping abreast of available financing are all important ways to assist local businesses in their ownership transfer.

Read more: The silver tsunami and rural small business retention: What can communities do? Community Development, volume 48(2)

 

About the author

Meg Ronson is the editor of Higher ED, Outreach Manager for the Economic Development Program and Masters candidate of Economic Development and Innovation at University of Waterloo. Her research involves studying credit unions and co-operative businesses as potential tools for strengthening and diversifying local economies, and is currently engaged in a project investigating co-operative solutions to the small business succession issue in Ontario and Canada.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

Social media
LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev

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The Higher ED Blog: How to Thrive as a Shrinking City http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/06/higher-ed-shrinking-city/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:00:04 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300092 More...]]> Depopulation, de-industrialization, and decline are words an economic developer never wants to see describe their community.  When they do, questions are always asked, fingers pointed, and reorganizations attempted in order to quickly reverse course and return to positive economic growth.

Despite what we may tell ourselves about today’s economy, decline abounds. Sure, today’s global economy has created lots of winners, from New York to Tokyo to Paris, but it’s also created lots of has-beens: places like Detroit, Youngstown, Flint, and Gary.  In short, the forces that make some destinations highly competitive are the same ones sucking others dry.

How we have dealt with decline has varied based on place, but usually involves denying or ignoring the problem. The relationship between success and unabated economic growth in cities is deeply ingrained into our understanding of development, making it difficult for declining places to face the reality of slow or no growth. Over time, some cities come to accept their condition, and indeed even embrace it, allowing them to better address the preconditions that led to the shrinking of their community. This is the focus of my own research over the past year: urban decline in Eastern Germany.

The Importance of History

In order to understand the plight of shrinking cities, it is key that we acknowledge the historical events that led to their present condition. Failing to understand the history of a place can lead to a failure to properly engage with the issues facing it. Likewise, we can open ourselves up to committing the same mistakes that led to a city’s current situation.

East German Shrinking Cities

It may surprise you, but Germany has emerged as a focal point of the shrinking city issue. Hundreds of East German cities have shrunk considerably since the 1990s—Hoyerswerda in Saxony, for example, has lost over half of its population in 25 years! As a result, many urban areas across Eastern Germany have seen an oversupply of housing, industrial structures, and other buildings. The German government’s initial reaction to the issue was casual ignorance: they could see what was happening, but were reluctant to acknowledge the issue because of its political sensitivity. The German government firmly held to the belief that growth would naturally return.

What Went Wrong

There is no single cause for the shrinking city in Eastern Germany, but overall causes of decline can be traced to a convergence of many historic as well as present events. Decades of Cold War division and subsequent development under entirely different ideological and economic systems meant that, when reunification was achieved in 1990, one side was going to fare much worse than the other. In the spirit of Jeffery Sachs’ economic shock therapy, Eastern Germany was opened up to capitalism at a pace unmatched in history. This disruption was further compounded by ill-advised currency reevaluations that favoured the West and a quick selling off of Eastern state assets. As the wealth and jobs rapidly evaporated in Eastern Germany and concentrated in Western Germany, the people followed. The end results were cities that had by the 2000’s witnessed the rapid loss of their industrial economies and the reversal of their population growth from positive to negative. Finally, a massive and costly suburban building program in the East further drained the city centre of its populations, with residents retreating to outlying areas.

Development from Decline

In order to get some benefit from decline, cities and communities need to do more than rely on simple land clearance to get the ball rolling. Unique solutions to the economic development woes of shrinking cities have already been emerging both in Europe and in North America.

Detroit has long been the poster child for shrinking cities in the United States. Once a city of 1.8 million, Motor City now houses fewer then 700,000 people and the resulting vacant land covers more area than the city of San Francisco. Taking advantage of this empty space, a new type of business has cropped up: urban farming. Organizations such as Keep Growing Detroit, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, and Hantz Woodlands now cultivate several acres of farmland within Detroit, and have plans for further expansion. These organizations have come to fill an important role in building new community pride in the city and supplying residents with fresh food they’d normally have to leave the city to find. Michigan has taken notice too: the state is now promoting urban farming as an example of economic resiliency and innovation in the face of constant change.

Other cities, such as Youngstown, created economic growth plans explicitly based on the concept of adapting to the city’s new reality, setting realistic economic goals that properly manage the decline and concentrate efforts on the most economically viable areas of the city. While success in some areas remains elusive, overall positive improvements speak to the benefits of planning in this manner.

How has Eastern Germany faced it? Now past the acceptance stage, German planners are working hard to put a positive spin on decline. These economic development plans have manifested themselves physically in the creation of more public green space and more pedestrian friendly connections across the city leading into their historic core areas. Institutions formerly suited to growing cities, such as daycares and after school centres, are being converted into senior centres and community space. At the same time, these plans are left open for public consultation with regards to their improvement. Despite these changes, however, policies demonstrate a continued emphasis on firm attraction and a lack of business and entrepreneur support, making it difficult to compete with the economic strength of Western Germany.

Eastern German cities are also reengaging with their traditional, pre-industrial economies and identities. Occurring in tandem with demolition policies, cities such as Greifswald, Witenberg, and Gorlitz have moved away from industrial development. Greifswald is now the Luther; Witenberg is now University and Hanseatic; and Gorlitz, the City of Culture, Edcucation and Business. By reorienting their economic development and branding to line up with key parts of their history, these cities have been able to stabilize their populations and redevelop along new paths. Similar strategies could be applied to other declining or disadvantaged communities across the developed world.

While many of these proposals are merely in the early stage and their full economic impacts  are not yet fully understood, they are encouraging examples of thriving, if shrinking, cities. Instead of fearfully avoiding or ignoring the reality of decline, we need to accept it and work to identify unique solutions that can turn what many see as a negative for a community into a positive.

***

I would like to thank Mark Seasons for all the guidance and support given to me in the process of completing this research. I would also like to thank him and Markus Moos for making my thesis defence a positive experience and for all the feedback on my work they provided.

 

About the author

Connor Renouf is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development. One of his primary interests in research is emphasizing the historical context of development issues, allowing for a stronger understanding of the problem at hand. His research interests include world economic history, economically disadvantaged regions, the use of public funds in development, and densification.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

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Robots won’t be stealing our jobs, yet http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/06/robots-wont-be-stealing-our-jobs-yet/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:19:02 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=300041 More...]]>  

For years we have been doing everything within our power to advance technology, with the hope of making human lives easier– but have we gone too far? Although automation has been responsible for productivity growth, the worst may be yet to come.

We are starting to see artificial intelligence become more present in the workplace, and eventually, robots could destroy our jobs. It is predicted that almost 50 percent of U.S jobs will be automated in the near future. Jobs at “high risk” for being completely replaced include those in transportation, production, maintenance, and construction industries. Before our eyes, we are slowly watching these replacements happen, with the most noticeable example being self-serve kiosksBut it is still impossible to program robots to do everything.  

No computer can ever be programmed to think creatively or have emotional intelligence. Jobs that include managing others, applying expertise, and interacting with people are least likely to become automated. For some jobs, humans will have a competitive advantage.

Even if robots end up taking some of our jobs, there is still good news. According to “What To Do When Machines Do Everything,” robots will make us “more creative in the long run” by making us focus on what we as humans do best. Others say that the rise of automation will lead to more of a focus on craftsmanship and artistry. And even if robots can be programmed to carry out a job, it does not always make sense for them to replace humans. Sometimes, replacing human workers with automation might be too expensive and wouldn’t provide a good return on investment. In other words, we are safe for today, and a couple more decades at least.

There may be nothing we can do to stop the rapid development of automation, but humans will find a way to adapt– we always have. 

 

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The Higher ED Blog: 4 Ways Economic Developers Are the Key to Solving Global Issues http://economicdevelopment.org/2017/06/economic-developers-global-issues/ Mon, 05 Jun 2017 13:00:16 +0000 http://economicdevelopment.org/?p=299760 More...]]> Climate change. Gender equality. Food security. War. Labour unrest. Healthcare access. It seems like the world is only getting worse. When you turn on the news, you hear of new battles being fought, people suffering due to lack of basic necessities, sudden changes in government and much more. As time goes by, not only are there more global issues, but the issues are more complex.

Vigorously focusing on one issue can lead to offshoots that not many people plan for in their models. For example, in Tanzania, foreign donations played a major role in moving the nation towards democracy, but none of the foreign donors could have predicted the other effects: the foreign aid ended up entrenching the former leaders in a false form of democracy where they had all the power. Instead of using the funds to develop the country, the leaders in power used the donor funds to initiate massive public spending to win votes. This has led to severe economic irrationalities within the nation, limited accountability among members of government and shady infrastructure.

As global bodies struggle with these kinds of issues, it is my hope that Economic Developers will engage their communities to play a greater role in solving world problems. Here are four reasons why we are the best people to help tackle global challenges.

1. Scope

As Economic Developers, we have the ability to connect the global world with the local issues in each community. Fighting against climate change for a local community can involve implementing car-share programs to have fewer vehicles on the road; or investing in community gardens to decrease food miles. Such a globally complex issue can be tackled in relatively simple ways when Local Economic Developers act within their own communities. These communities can then interact with each other for a more sustainable world.

2. Access to Traditional Knowledge

Traditional knowledge refers to the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities around the world.” This type of knowledge is crucial to understanding the factors that are coming together to cause global issues. In a bid for better animal treatment, the media have been known to condemn members of the Inuit population for continuing to hunt seals. In this situation, an Economic Development Practitioner with local traditional knowledge understands the importance of the seal hunt to the lifestyle of the Inuit and the effect it has on the greater world. It is clear that the Inuit attempt to hunt seals in a sustainable manner. As Economic Developers, our connection to community allows us to make appropriate judgements on the changes in our environment, their causes, and the best policies and actions to help our communities. We can then use this knowledge to communicate local realities to the rest of the world, acting as a buffer against external expertise and theoretical solutions which may not be practical or feasible.

3. Separation from Politics

The Economic Development Office is one that is focused on moving a community forward economically, socially and environmentally. We are not elected to our positions, but are put in a great position of service to our communities. There is sometimes tension created when Economic Development Councils are not required to hold public meetings, but many acknowledge that this separation allows the organization to focus on the needs of the community without the pressure of the media, populism and politics. This does not mean halting dialogue with the public on the plans for the region, but it makes sure that the Economic Development Office can do its job. This allows them to implement long term strategies that are best for the community without the political pressure of winning votes.

4. Capacity for Action

Our jobs put us in a position to take action! We have access to many private and public sector organizations which listen to and respect our advice, but we can also see the big picture. We are the first point of contact on any new initiative in our communities. Despite the challenges, we understand that the world is changing and strive to make sure that our communities can be competitive in this new world. Through these realities, we have many tools to move our communities forward, and working together, can strive to build a better world.

 

There are many global complex issues that world bodies are struggling to handle. By virtue of our roles in local communities, we are in the best position to do something about it. We have manageable scopes to work with, access to traditional knowledge, separation from politics and a capacity/competence for action. One of the reasons developing nations continue to suffer is the lack of a locally generated development office. In North America, this profession is alive, well, and continuously evolving. It is my hope that Economic Developers will engage their communities for the advancement of humanity. If we don’t answer the call, can we really call ourselves Economic Development professionals?

 

About the author

Elijah Raji is one of those rare people who believe they can change the world. As a budding Economic Developer, he is constantly looking for new ways to apply Economic Development principles to complex issues around the world. His passion for development encouraged him to move to Waterloo for the Masters in Economic Development and Innovation Program where he is currently conducting research on Foreign Direct Investment leading to Sustainable Development in developing countries. He hopes to use this research to develop best practices for regions to be able to utilize business investments for community development. When he is not conducting research on Economic Development, he is consulting with companies around the world on new ways to grow their business and expand their impact on their surrounding communities.

About the series

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article.

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally.

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners.

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