July 2011

The Community Profile: An Economic Development Cornerstone

In our first blog entry on "Investment Readiness", I noted the following two key elements:
  • The need for up to date and complete data and information related to location and investment decision-making.
  • The need for a comprehensive asset inventory - a documentation of a community's "resources and product offering" to support business investment.

The Community Profile is the embodiment of these two foundational elements of investment readiness. It is your "go-to" document for responding to all investment inquiries and responses. It is also the first point of reference in the decision maker or influencer's due diligence process of investment/site location decisions. It needs to be available in hard copy, as well as PDF format on your website and for emailing.

A good community profile is fact-packed, and should contain the following at minimum, as well as contact information for verification and follow up purposes:

  • An attractive cover: the cover should convey a great first impression of your community - but the fluff ends here - after the cover, just the facts please.
  • Contact information on the inside cover/second page and/or last or back page of community profile.
  • Introduction: a concise introduction to your community's economic history, key competitive advantages, and other general information such as climate data.
  • Maps: a location map displaying your community's location in relation to major markets, a transportation map indicating transportation links to/from your community, and a labour shed map.
  • Demographics: current year demographic, education, and income data. Site selectors consider data older than one year to be useless - we can help you source this data.
  • Labour force: current year labour force indicators, including labour force by occupation and industry, as well as labour force commuting patterns and the most recent wage rates by occupation.
  • Key industries: top 10 private and public sector employers and number of employees.
  • Transportation: a list of all major transportation assets and linkages.
  • Taxes and utilities: current tax rates (personal, payroll, municipal, provincial, federal), current utility rates and connection fees.
  • Building, planning, and development related processes, process times, and fees.
  • Availability of business accommodations and property, with a link to where the most current information may be found.
  • Business support programs and services such as employment and hiring services, labour force development institutions, government assistance, financial services, and incentives. Include other key assets (ie. research facilities).
  • Quality of life: housing, health and social services, educational institutions, protective services, local media, and recreation, tourism, and cultural facilities/events.

If you would like to review examples of a well-designed community profile, please contact McSweeney & Associates.


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