Creation of and evaluation of local and regional investment attraction and economic development strategies, initiatives, programs, and returns from investment projects.

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Our subject matter expertise, advisory, and analytic capabilities span a range of topics including:

  1. Local and regional economic evaluation, forecasting and modeling,
  2. Corporate site selection and location strategy,
  3. Economic and community development incentives and finance,
  4. Economic development investment and strategy,
  5. Regional economic transformation and sustainability planning,
  6. Workforce and human capital development,
  7. New technology adoption.

Our public sector clients use our research to evaluate programs and make critical public policy decisions that affect regional economic prosperity and inclusion. Our private sector clients use our research to make location and investment decisions, as well as to assess their impact on local and regional economic development. We support decision-making at all levels of government and across different types of organizations – including chambers of commerce, revenue departments, economic development agencies, industry associations and private companies.

Project Examples

Waterloo EDC SWOT and Risk Profiles (2017)

Chris Steele of EBP has a long-term relationship in serving the Waterloo EDC as it continues to plan and advocate for the Waterloo, Ontario region’s economic future.  As part of this, Mr. Steele constructed a series of risk profiles for the EDC in late 2020 showcasing how the region’s economic, climate, and infrastructure provided a balanced risk profile for technology and manufacturing in the region.  While the project had the current COVID pandemic as its inspiration, the risk profiles and mitigations were wide ranging.

Quad Cities Chamber Ecosystem Mapping (2020)

Chris Steele of EBP helped the Quad Cities chamber in their future forward planning to identify how the region’s current economic base could support the growth of emerging economic sectors such as Ag Tech and Materials Tech.  By mapping the private, public, institutional, and other stakeholders in each ecosystem, the region gained a fuller understanding of the global opportunity and of how to bring the interested parties together in a meaningful way.

Edmonton Energy & Technology Park Investment Opportunities (2018)

Chris Steele and his team were retained by the City of Edmonton to help identify investment opportunities for the Edmonton Energy & Technology Park (EETP), as well as provide recommendations how to better develop a technology and innovation ecosystem in the City. Chris and his team conducted a thorough investigation of best practice technology and innovation ecosystems and carried out a competitive gap analysis of Edmonton against its peers, while also engaging stakeholders, mapping regional assets, and reviewing previous growth scenarios of the park. They then updated possible scenarios for the EETP, providing critical recommendations to help guide future development of the park.

Elkhart County Economic Development and Business Attraction Plan (2012)

The Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County, Indiana engaged Chris Steele to develop a plan for economic diversification after the recession caused a significant decrease in sales for the economic base and a large spike in the unemployment rate. Chris and his team examined the economic building blocks of the County and identified strengths that could be repurposed for diversification and talent attraction. The plan included specific activities addressing the organization and its partners, marketing, outreach to existing industry groups, as well as government and public sector advocacy. To create this plan, the team interviewed local business owners, performed a reverse site selection screening model, and identified industries and functions that would benefit from being in the Elkhart area and that met the requirements of the community. 

Since this project occurred, Elkhart County has experienced historically low unemployment rates due to the recovery of its manufacturing sector. 

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association – Incentive Bylaw Template (2020-21)

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association – along with its five member municipalities: The City of Edmonton, The City of Fort Saskatchewan, Lamont Count, Sturgeon County, and Strathcona County – retained Chris Steele and his team to help develop a common bylaw template for investment attraction incentives.  

The incentive program was enabled by changes in the Municipal Government Act resulting from Bills 7 and 29 in Alberta, enabling municipalities a framework for abating or exempting non-residential and machinery & equipment taxes for new development in their communities.

Mr. Steele built on existing research performed by AIHA, provided further detail for the initial policy framework and application, and then developed the full incentive blylaw template.  Chris has continued to assist both AIHA and each municipality as they work through legal review and then bring the bylaws to Council for discussion and ratification.

Review of Maine’s Economic Development and R&D Incentive Programs (2013-2018)

The State of Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), in collaboration with the Steering Committee, retained Chris Steele and his team to complete a full and comprehensive evaluation of investment by the State into the economic development of Maine. The team developed a survey which quantified innovation metrics as a part of its assessment of the State’s research and development (R&D) programs. Project activities included a full-scale cost-benefit assessment of four incentive programs, extensive benchmarking of the competitiveness of the State of Maine, a review of previous studies assessing the efficiency of Maine’s incentives program, as well as an examination of annual reports, interviews, and surveys with public and private parties. The project concluded with final recommendations regarding the implementation and design of incentives programs and ongoing support actions.

As the previous independent party conducting this review, we are already well acquainted with the State’s incentive programs (such as PTDZ, BETE/BETR, and MCIC), the relevant stakeholders, and the challenges associated with information gathering and review. In fact, we were among the first to recommend that the State’s suite of programs should align with a state-wide economic development strategy.