About & Application

The 4th Annual Creative Give Back-Winner Announced

The Creative Give Back is Creative Economic Development Consulting’s way to give back to the field of economic development. Our team has enjoyed long careers as practicing economic developers and consultants. This profession has given us meaningful work and lifelong friends. We have enjoyed playing even the smallest part in improving thousands of lives through sustainable economic development. It is important for us to give back to the profession that has given us so much. Starting in 2014, we committed to giving away one consulting project a year through a competitive application process.

Our first recipient of the Creative Give Back was the Alliance of South Charlotte Communities.  The Alliance was formed by the Towns of Indian Trail, Matthews, Mint Hill and Stallings, North Carolina. The Creative EDC team shaped the fledgling organization into a clear, concise vision with a three-year work plan.  “Crystal and Creative Economic Development Consulting brought a wealth of expertise to the table and actually took a genuine interest in our communities and in the individuals who participated in the process. The future success of the Alliance of South Charlotte Communities can be attributed, in large part, to the Creative Give Back grant.” – Lee Bailey, Town of Mint Hill, Alliance Board Member

The winner of the 2015 Give Back was the Cabarrus Chamber for their project of raising awareness of nontraditional career pathways for women. We surveyed the business community, parents, teachers, service provides, and female community college students. The local task team is now implementing an awareness campaign.

The result of the 2016 Give Back in Wayne County, NC, can be found on our website in the free resource library. Their project as to create an influencing model to encourage businesses to hire former military members and military spouses.

To be considered for The Creative Give Back, the project must:

  • Challenge us to think outside-the-box
  • Have the ability to significantly impact the local economy
  • Have a true, demonstrated consulting need
  • Be consistent with sustainable economic development practices
  • Give us the opportunity to work with a great community and great people

Not required, but it would be helpful if the project:

  • Could be used as a pilot for other communities
  • Had a broad or regional impact

Scope of Project: The types of projects we will consider are as wide-ranging as the creativity of the applicant pool. Creative EDC has expertise in strategic planning, product development, organizational development, downtown and small business development, marketing, entrepreneurship, site selection, and many other areas of economic development. Our website has recent project examples, but don’t limit project ideas to our list. We are looking for ways to help your unique community.

Selection Process: The Selection Process is pretty simple. Creative EDC staff will narrow the submissions to three for an independent panel to rview.  To make our finalist list, the project will be awarded points for:

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Capability for economic transformation
  • Demonstrated consulting need
  • And just a few points for how much fun the project will be – If we’re not getting paid at least we should have fun!

The staff-selected finalist projects will be reviewed and assessed by an independent Review Panel of strategic partners. We will not announce the Review Panel members in advance to avoid influencing, but we will name them when we announce the winner.

Influencing – Absolutely no influencing is allowed. Keep the expensive dinners, sports event tickets, and bottles of wine. If you can afford all of that, then you could hire us instead of applying.

Eligible Applicants – Units of local governments and nonprofit economic development organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are eligible applicants. Communities do not have to be economically distressed. There could be many reasons the consulting project has remained unfunded.

Deadlines – We mean it. No late proposals. No extensions. Remember, like any good site selector, we’re looking for reasons to eliminate.  

Creative Economic Development Consulting