Is your community prepared for Economic Development?
What about for economic development that would retain and expand existing businesses and attract new businesses to add income and well-paying jobs to your community?
Do you know your community’s strengths and weaknesses? Would other community members agree that they are, indeed, strengths and weaknesses?
This Community Economic Development Preparedness Index (CEDPI) can help you analyze your community’s strengths and weaknesses, assets and shortcomings, and overall sense of community before you develop a plan to improve economic development opportunities. It also provides the community with an overview of where additional investments might be needed and indicates where investments have already been made.
The CEDPI is based on individuals’ perceptions of activities and conditions in the community over which you may or may not have some control. Collectively, the responses will indicate whether your community is ready to retain, expand, and attract businesses through economic development.
The CEDPI is available as a PDF that can be printed and distributed, but compilation with this method of completion can be time consuming, especially considering that there are over 100 questions.
A much more convenient option is to use an online survey software called Qualtrics. Any Extension faculty or staff member can use Qualtrics by using their net ID name and password. The CEDPI questions are available as Qualtrics templates to make it even easier to use; links to the template files can be found in the CEDPI Qualtrics Instructions. Qualtrics is also mobile device (iPhone, iPad, smartphone, and tablet) friendly.
Once you decide to complete a CEDPI in your community, you should consider who should complete the survey and in which format(s). For example, consider the following approaches:
- Distribute either a paper version or, thanks to the popularity of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, the online version of the CEDPI survey to a small group of decision makers or a task force and discuss the results in a group meeting.
- Encourage residents community-wide to complete the CEDPI survey online.
- Combine 1 and 2 above: have both community members and decision makers complete the survey. Decision makers or economic development professionals may have a better grasp on the community’s status regarding technical issues, whereas community members may not; this, however, can indicate areas for improved communication regarding existing economic development efforts. Additionally, community members, especially those who own or are employed at community businesses, may have a different perception of how “pro-business” the decision makers tend to be compared to the perceptions of the decision makers themselves.