The International Economic Development for Sustainable Programme (IEDSP) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDSP is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDSP ’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.


Provide leadership and excellence in economic development for our communities, members, and partners.

We embrace the following core values. They reflect and support our mission, and guide our decisions, actions and provision of services:

  • Social responsibility and a dedication to building healthy, just, and competitive communities
  • Creation of wealth for individuals, businesses, and communities
  • Advancement of both the economic development profession and professional
  • Cooperation and collaboration
  • Diversity, tolerance, and equity


IEDSP is the world’s largest membership organization serving the economic development profession. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development experience, including:

  • Regional, state, county, and city economic development organizations
  • Chambers of commerce and other business support agencies
  • Community and neighborhood development organizations
  • Technology development agencies
  • Utility companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Consultants
  • Redevelopment authorities

The strength of our organization comes directly from the expertise and influence of our members. This expertise includes:

  • Real estate development and commercial revitalization
  • Workforce development
  • Infrastructure and business finance
  • Business marketing, attraction, expansion, and retention
  • Community development
  • Industrial rehabilitation and location
  • International trade
  • Tourism development


Building strong, sustainable communities is an endeavor requiring innovative strategies, tools, and techniques. Our programs and services have been developed accordingly: they provide educational opportunities, analyze and disseminate information, and improve decision-makers’ responsiveness to economic development needs. They include:

  • Opportunities to network with and learn from community leaders, industry experts, and federal policy makers at our technical and annual conferences
  • Professional development that strengthens economic developers’ careers and communities, and a certification program that unifies and sets the standard of excellence for the discipline
  • Advisory Services and Research that creates custom solutions for all types of communities, as well as federal agencies
  • In-depth analysis in the premiere publication of the discipline – Economic Development Journal – and a bi-monthly survey of economic development news and federal updates in the Economic Development Now e-newsletter.
  • Public policy which monitors federal activity impacting the field of economic development and engages our membership in policy advocacy activities
  • The Accredited Economic Development Organization program, which provides organizations with independent feedback on their operations and recognizes excellence in local economic development efforts


Comprised of recognized leaders in economic development and professionals skilled in association management, our staff is dedicated to supporting the endeavors of our members and advancing the profession and discipline of economic development as a whole.


What is economic development?

A set of programs and policies that aid in the creation, retention and expansion of jobs; the development of a stable tax base; and the enhancement of wealth.

What is IEDSP?

IEDSP in collaboration with World Relief Fund International is the world’s largest professional organization for economic development practitioners in. We have more than 5,000 members across the United States, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, and other nations.

What is the purpose of IEDSP?

IEDSP works to help economic developers do their jobs more effectively, and to raise the profile of the profession. If we succeed, our members create more high-quality jobs, develop more vibrant communities, and generally improve the quality of life in their regions. To that end, we provide information on trends and best practices, networking opportunities, professional development courses and numerous other services.

Who are IEDSP 's members?

Our members are the people who:

  • Work to persuade new businesses to locate in your community, region or state.
  • Try to help the businesses that are already in your community to continue growing there.
  • Who look for ways to turn distressed areas into vibrant hubs of economic activity.

Some IEDSP members work in major cities, while others work in remote, rural areas. Some work for public agencies, while others work for chambers of commerce, private nonprofit organizations, public/private partnerships or for universities. Some work with private-sector consulting firms, and some are sole practitioners working in the field. Name a type of economic development project, and some IEDSP member has worked on it. In short, our members represent the entire range of economic development experience.

Does IEDSP lobby?

IEDSP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As such, we are prohibited from lobbying except under limited circumstances, and from endorsing political candidates. Even without such restrictions, we’d still be nonpartisan, because our members’ political opinions are as varied as their work and life experiences are.
We do generate papers on specific economic development-related topics, and have provided testimony at government hearings on the value of various economic development programs and policies. We also publish annual reports about federal spending on economic development projects and offer alerts to members about pending legislation or regulatory changes that could affect their work.


Because we utilize the expertise and experience of IEDSP members who are active economic development practitioners, IEDSP is uniquely positioned to address the constantly changing demands and challenges of the economic development profession.
IEDSP brings together a team of expert panelists from our membership, whose skills and expertise match the needs of a specific advisory services project. IEDSP advisory services staff and the member experts visit the community for two to four days. The team interviews community stakeholders, gathers information, and provides immediate feedback and recommendations, which are later included in a detailed final report with case examples.
Our process:

  1. Our experienced staff will meet with you to discuss your unique challenges and needs, and develop an agreed upon scope of work
  2. We will convene an IEDSP Panel Advisory Team from our staff and IEDSP ’s membership whose skills and experience match the specific needs of the client’s project
  3. The IEDSP Panel Advisory Team will conduct a site visit in the client community for two to four days, involving interviews with community stakeholders, and information gathering
  4. At the conclusion of the site visit the IEDSP Team provides immediate feedback and recommendations to the client and community
  5. A more comprehensive analysis (based on the findings and recommendations from the site visit) is later included in a detailed final report, along with case studies of communities that illustrate different approaches and solutions for similar economic development challenges to those of the client.