What Is an Economic Development Board?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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An economic development board is an agency that promotes economic opportunities. Some agencies are run directly by regional governments and their employees represent the government. Others are third party organizations that may work in cooperation with a local government. The creation and retention of economic opportunities promotes growth in communities, which can lead to an improvement in quality of life.

Typically, an economic development board has a group of people appointed as board members. They may include representatives of the business community as well as government officials and concerned members of the public, like environmental advocates who want to make sure economic opportunities also promote environmental health. Board members may serve terms of varying length. They may elect a director from among their number or one may be appointed. In addition to serving on the board itself, they may also be involved on individual committees which address regional issues in smaller groups and bring proposals back to the board.

There are a variety of ways an economic development board can promote opportunities in its community. Many work to attract investment from out of the area, drawing in funds from the outside to increase the amount of capital available to the community. Outside investments may create jobs, both directly in the form of employees of new companies and indirectly for people like service personnel, construction workers, and others who may support the business. Boards can also work directly within their communities to encourage people to start and grow business.


Making an attractive business climate may involve improving infrastructure, creating grants for business activities, and establishing advisory organizations to help businesses accomplish goals. Economic development boards may have an interest in improving roads, rails, and ports, for example, to illustrate that a community is suitable for manufacturing and similar activities. They can also promote educational development to create a skilled workplace and a new generation of entrepreneurs to create more businesses in their community. An economic development board may also be concerned with matters like attracting tourism and protecting the character and integrity of the community.

Proceedings of an economic development board may be open to members of the public. People can ask to view reports, position papers, and other documents. They can also attend meetings of the board, and sometimes may be permitted in committee meetings as well. Such organizations also invite public comment on initiatives, which may be submitted in the form of testimony at a meeting, or written communications like letters to the board members.



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