CED Assessment Teams During Economic Disruption

In the wake of industry transitions like mill closures, curtailments, fisheries moratoria, and main street downturns, most communities are left scrambling for some sort of economic sustainability. They face multiple cascading issues like job losses, shrinking tax bases, families leaving the region, lost supports for youth and elderly, and other core disruptions. In times like these, communities need to know all of their options to chart a way forward for economic diversification and resurgence.

SFU Community Economic Development (SFU CED) supports communities through rapid deployments of CED assessment teams. We bring together experts in community economic development, usually in rural and small municipal contexts, and deploy them to impacted communities to evaluate community economic development opportunities, and provide recommendations for short-term investment and capacity building. These assessments are vital for planning processes, as well as providing the data foundation for grant proposals and requests for support from other sources.

SFU CED partners directly with community leaders to customize the assessment process. Generally, this includes the following roles:


  • Deploy small teams of 3 to 5 experts in CED to the impacted community. Generally these deployments are for two to three days.
  • Interview economic and community leaders to document impacts of the downturn and the desired trajectory of redevelopment.
  • Take an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) assessment approach, identifying core CED assests in the community.
  • Perform a CED opportunity analysis of short- and long-term opportunities for developing community-based businesses, diverse employment drivers, social enterprises and cooperatives, and sustainable industry development on a scale commensurate with the community's asset base.
  • Perform a gap analysis of capacities and investments in the community for diversification. 
  • Provide a summary report to community leaders detailing information gathered, making recommendations for short- and long-term CED responses, and indicating potential funding sources for implementation.
  • Apply lenses for social equity, environmental, and Indigenous reconciliation to the entire process to emphasize these values in the final report. 

Community Partner Roles

  • Identify and organize the interviewees across the community so that the assessment teams have direct access to all of the economic knowledge-keepers in the impacted area.
  • Manage the logistics for assessment teams while they are in the community, ensuring that they keep a tight schedule and gather as much information as possible in the two- to three-day time frame.
  • Provide any previous research or existing information related to CED that can support the team's understanding of the local context for community economic development.
CED assessment teams are meant to be lean approaches that are cost-effective for the community and minimize the distractions for leaders who are already in the depths of triage and response activities. For more information on how we can customize assessment teams for your community, please contact us.