by Stacey Dadd | November 10, 2017
The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida wrapped its 41st Annual Basic Economic Development Course Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. BEDC is a four-day course that qualifies as a professional development training requirement needed to sit for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) examination. This course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and the American Planning Association (APA).
According to course administrator, Lisa Bonilla, attendees are typically high-level industry executives, such as county administrators and executive directors, from across the nation. This year, the group consisted of younger professionals. There were 36 students enrolled, with 31 based in Florida. Others came from Tennessee, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Louisiana and the Virgin Islands.
Additional key profile indicators of this year’s attendees include:
- 46% of attendees spend at least 76% of their time devoted to economic development work.
- 88% attendees are economic development staff practitioners.
- 29% of attendees were 21-30 years of age.
- 29% of attendees were 31-40 years of age.
- 57% of attendees have at least a master’s degree.
Lauren St. Martin, marketing and communications manager at Pasco EDC, and BEDC student, said she was looking forward to digging down deeper into the different aspects of economic development during this year’s course.
She added, “The BEDC will help me have more of a reference point when I am creating communications pieces. As a marketing and communications person, it’s imperative that I have knowledge of all the areas that fall under economic development.” St. Martin previously worked in tourism.
The course consists of four days of classes led by area economic development experts, covering topics such as:
- Business Retention and Expansion
- Strategic Planning
- Economic Development Finance
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development
- Community/Neighborhood Development
- Real Estate Development and Reuse
- Workforce Development
- Managing Economic Development Organizations
These expert-led classes were one reason Ben Friedman, business assistant specialist for Pinellas County Economic Development, said he was important for him to attend this year. “As a young professional, getting perspectives from and networking with experienced economic development practitioners was invaluable. The speakers were a fantastic way to meet leaders in the greater Tampa Bay Area.”
As a result of the course, he added that he’s “gained a better perspective on economic development as a discipline and gained an insight into best practices across the board. There was a really amazing cross pollination of ideas from the class and it was fantastic.”
Friedman was also able to connect with another attendee who is also a researcher and the two plan to share technology tools and methods in the future to better help both of their regions.