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Economic Development Strategies

BDA’s strategic planning and policy consulting services are data-driven and growth oriented. We help communities respond to complex changeand prepare for new opportunities. We also work with clients to build stakeholder support and implement recommended programs.

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS)

  • Equitable and inclusive development practices

  • Benchmarking and competitive assessments

  • Resident-centric economic development 

  • Sustainable development

  • SWOT analyses

  • Cost modeling

  • Regional leadership and organizational models


BDA helps communities create competitive and responsible economic development incentive policies. Our sister site, Smart Incentives, emphasizes due diligence, compliance and evaluation for effective incentive use once policies are in place.

Business Development

BDA works with clients to craft business development strategies suitable to today’s economy. BDA has extensive experience performing target industry studies and market research to support industry recruitment strategies. We have worked with small and large communities nationwide to match them with highly focused and appropriate industry targets.

  • Target industry analysis

  • Marketing plans

  • Prospect identification

  • Contact plans


BDA analyzes workforce trends and forecasts for regional economies and addresses STEM education and worker training programs for economic development.

  • Workforce trends and forecasts by region

  • STEM and education policies

  • Talent and business attraction

International Projects

BDA has completed economic development projects addressing strategy, business growth and attraction, and incentive use in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

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BDA provides competitive intelligence to organizations seeking insights on industries, market trends, individual companies, and locations. BDA creates custom reports to help decision-makers evaluate competitors, partners and customers in the United States and internationally. Our confidential reports are typically used as inputs into business development and market entry strategies.

Specific products include:
  • Company Profiles

  • Industry Analyses

  • Location Profiles

  • Market Entry Strategies

  • Market Assessment and Comparison

  • Operating Environment Analyses

  • Legal, Political and Regulatory Reviews



Policy Research

BDA conducts research on client-defined topics related to economic development policy options and effectiveness. Recent projects have addressed:

  • Gig, independent and remote work

  • Human capital and entrepreneurship

  • Effect of the regulatory environment on economic development

  • Impact of long-term trends in globalization, environment, and

  • demographics on regional economic growth

  • Policies to support manufacturing SMEs

  • Use of digital technologies to foster global competitiveness

Fiscal and Economic Impact

Impact analyses can be powerful decision-making and communication tools, but they are easy to misuse or misinterpret. BDA has experience working with multiple partners and analytical tools for a variety of project types. Recent projects have included:

  • Statewide military impact analysis

  • Contributions to a statewide DoD procurement economic impact evaluation model

  • Impact of the New Markets Tax Credit program

  • Impact of credit unions on a state economy

  • Analysis of the economic effects of uranium operations in select communities

Services Research

BDA conducts research on the contributions service industries make to regional economic growth. BDA founder Ellen Harpel is an expert on the role of professional services and knowledge-intensive business services in regional economies.

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Smart Incentives helps communities make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process. Smart Incentives works with economic development organizations and investment promotion agencies to implement incentive programs that are both effective and responsible by:

  • Analyzing incentive program design and offers.

  • Applying the Smart Incentives 4x4 framework for program management.

  • Offering access to data and analytical methods to guide decisions.

  • Improving evaluation and reporting procedures.

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