The CEDS process begins with a detailed assessment of the community, focusing on the key areas that drive economic development. Our analysis of any community occurs against the backdrop of global, national, and regional competition. We analyze and produce a wide variety of industry and economic data in-house and are well versed in global corporate location decision-making. We always analyze a wide variety of information at the MSA, County, City, and local neighborhood level. Understanding demographic, economic, and industry trends is critical and much of our analysis is framed with a comparative view. Greyhill’s assessment relies on both (1) an analytical quantitative review as well as (2) a qualitative evaluation to determine the community’s competitive position, assets and challenges. Our quantitative analysis considers:

  • Demographic profile and shifts over time:
    • Population and population growth trends
    • Gender and age breakdown
    • Race and ethnicity
  • Economic trends
    • Employment growth
    • Unemployment rates
    • Labor force size and growth
  • Future national and global economic trends that will have an impact on the region:
    • Industry shifts 
    • Geographical shifts 
  • Overview of the regional business environment 
    • Investment activity and venture capital funding 
    • Entrepreneurial activity and new business creation 
  • Wage growth and wage competitiveness 
  • Income levels 
  • Costs of living and doing business  

Our qualitative assessment relies heavily on input from community stakeholders, business leaders, government officials and the community-at-large. We work with the client to identify key constituents and approach the input process with diligence in order to elicit the most relevant and insightful information possible. We believe strongly that a successful CEDS planning process should not be conducted behind closed doors but rather in the public eye in order to gain the most nuanced vision for future community development. Depending on the requirements of the project, we are skilled at engaging the public through a variety of mechanisms including:

  • one-on-one interviews
  • industry working groups
  • small focus groups
  • public town hall meetings
  • interaction with the media
  • development of project websites
  • surveying the general public and/or targeted groups

We treat this step with very special attention because we view this as often the most important part of a CEDS planning process. The information gleaned from the citizens in the community is of utmost importance and has a significant impact on the creation of the strategic plan. Our findings will result in a detailed SWOT – strength, weakness, opportunities, and threat assessment that provides a greater level of detail than traditional SWOT assessments. We do not simply provide a bulleted list of SWOT findings; rather we identify key elements uncovered in process and explain their significance to future economic development efforts. This analysis will set the foundation for the identification of target sectors (LINK to Targeting) in the second phase and detailed strategies in the third phase of the CEDS process.