The International Economic Development Council Announces the Inaugural Cohort of Entrepreneurship Development Professional Credential Recipients

WASHINGTON - Dec. 14, 2021 - PRLog -- The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is proud to announce the inaugural cohort of Entrepreneurship Development Professional (EDP) credential recipients.

To achieve this rigorous designation, candidates must have had two years of full-time experience in economic development, have completed the necessary education requirements, and have passed the certification examination. These candidates were the first to complete this exam and did so in an entirely virtual environment. By achieving this credential, candidates demonstrated to their peers and community leaders that they have the skills and expertise to engage, elevate, and advance their community through entrepreneurship-led economic development.

"We know that entrepreneurs and small businesses are facing new obstacles and strongly believe that through earning the EDP credential, economic developers and those who support entrepreneurs and small businesses will be able to offer their communities the necessary skills and strategies for the future," said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo President & CEO Tom Kucharski, CEcD. "These individuals are the future of their communities, and I'm certain this credential has prepared them for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

"These professionals are extremely well-equipped to advance their communities thanks to IEDC's new EDP credential. Their hard work and dedication demonstrated by their completion of the program set the stage for future success in the post-pandemic economy and beyond," added IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle.

"Entrepreneurship and economic development are inextricably linked," said Penny Lewandowski, Principal at Changes At the Edges and proponent of the EDP credential. "This program has equipped these individuals with new ways to think about economic development – especially how a grow-from-within strategy can lead to thriving and sustainable economies."

Millions of jobs and small businesses have been affected by COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis, and professionals like these will be crucial to addressing this struggle. The EDP credential and new EDP courses would not be possible without support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Economic Development Administration, and partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City SourceLink.

"Entrepreneur-focused economic development is one of the most powerful ways to spur economic growth. We are thrilled to support this important initiative, and cannot wait to see how these newly-credentialed professionals use their skills to advance their communities," said Philip Gaskin, Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of EDP credential recipients:
  • Susan Bosse, EDP, MBA - Business & Workforce Development Director, CareerSource Florida (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Brett Doney, CEcD, FM, EDP - President & CEO, Great Falls Development Authority (Great Falls, MT)
  • Amy Hansen, EDP - Executive Director, Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership (Fond du Lac, WI)
  • Michael Harris, EDP - Executive Director, New Haven Innovation Collaborative (New Haven, CT)
  • Natalia Rodriguez-Hilt, EDP - Program Officer, Local Initiative Support Corporation (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Nathan Tafoya, CEcD, EDP - Executive Director, Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation (Mount Pleasant, TX)
  • Elan Vallender, CEcD, EDP - Economic Development Director, Town of Florence, AZ (Mesa, AZ)
  • Courtney Zaugg CEcD, EDP - Founder & President, Plaka + Associates, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN)

The EDP credential is the second certification offered by IEDC, the first being the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification. The CecD credential is a comprehensive designation, testing applicants in general proficiency regarding economic development. IEDC has certified over 1,100 CEcD practitioners.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the world's largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development. Learn more at

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Page Updated Last on: Dec 15, 2021

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