What Is an Economic Development Partnership?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2018
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An economic development partnership is an organization that pools private and public resources to promote economic growth. Some are entirely private companies while others may be public agencies, depending on their structure. They can include a mixture of business partners from the area who participate in their endeavors, along with board members drawn from the government and business community. Economic development partnerships engage in a variety of activities to encourage businesses to settle, grow, and develop in their regions.

The area covered by an economic development partnership can vary. Some serve specific cities or towns, while others may cover larger units of government like counties, states, or provinces. Partners and sponsors can include economic development agencies maintained by the government, along with major regional firms. The organization may have access to government funds, private grants, and gifts from partners to promote economic growth. Some resources may be earmarked for very specific purposes like job creation or promoting growth in the tech industry.

Economic development partnerships provide information intended to entice companies to the area, including statistics, referrals to potential business partners, and assistance with regulatory questions. They can also assist existing businesses that want to expand or have issues with rezoning, property acquisition, and other issues. In all cases, the goal of the economic development partnership is to grow a strong business climate that will remain robust.


These organizations may use marketing campaigns to promote the area and distribute information to local companies. They can promote individual members and companies that approach them for assistance. Some work with legislators and other officials on policy that may impact economic growth. They can also sponsor events like street fairs, festivals, and so forth to maintain a lively and active business climate. The economic development partnership works in the community to promote positive perceptions of businesses and organizations.

Such agencies typically have boards of directors, who may be either elected or appointed. They may use charters to outline their goals and govern their activities. Fair and equitable dealing can also be a component of the work at an economic development partnership. Whether a company approaching for assistance is likely to create 10 jobs or 1,000, the organization should be able to provide advice, information, and an appropriate level of help. Organizations may also cooperate across a region, allowing multiple county agencies, for example, to pool resources to promote economic development across an entire state.



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