Small Towns, BIG IDEAS

Economic development in a small town often requires a heavy dose of long-term thinking, risk taking and blending traditional methods with alternative strategies.

Tough times are not new in rural America. Many communities flounder, yet some thrive. Small Towns BIG IDEAS scoured the country – Oregon to South Georgia – in search of the keys to successful rural economic development.

Small Towns, Big Ideas is the result of an intensive, yearlong effort to identify and document the stories of small towns that are surviving – and, in some cases, thriving – as hubs of civic and economic activity.

Small Towns BIG IDEAS kept a tight focus on small and rural – from Chimney Rock, NC with 175 people to Helena-West, AR with 15,000 residents – yet it delivers insight to community leaders throughout rural America.

…real stories, from real places that are successfully confronting real challenges

Learn what was discovered along the way through vibrant case studies where people brought communities and economies back to life.


What you will learn…

  • A framework for understanding economic development in small towns
  • Local ingredients for success and innovation in small town development
  • Real examples of how some small towns are moving the needle
  • Innovative assets for modern small town development

Pack the box lunch and brew the coffee. Use this webinar as a launch point for a community discussion. The first rule in rural economic development success is leadership. Be that leader. Forward this invite to your community leaders. Then, bring a group together to participate in the webinar on May 19th and plot your local strategy.


Steps to Success…

  1. Download Small Towns BIG IDEAS
  2. Invite key leaders for a box lunch and webinar
  3. Register your group for the Webinar
  4. Pepper Mr. Lambe with your questions
  5. Launch into a discussion immediately after the webinar to challenge your community

Webinar Details

Small Towns BIG IDEAS                Tuesday, May 19

                                                      2:30 ET / 1:30 CT / 12:30 MT / 11:30 PT

Approximate Run Time                 1 hour 30 minutes with 20 minutes of Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions        FAQ

This webinar is sponsored by NEDA for the benefit of members. The price reflects a 15% discount, a NEDA member benefit.

Featured Author

Will Lambe

Associate Director, Community & Economic Development Program, UNC

Will Lambe specializes in rural economic development research. He is an advisor to rural communities on capacity building and economic development strategy. He has written about and worked with dozens of small towns and has testified to Congress about innovations in rural development. His most recent publication, Small Towns, BIG IDEAS: Cast Studies in Small Town Economic Development was released in February, 2009. It builds on extensive rural development research and activism by Mr. Lambe.

Mr. Lambe is the associate director of the Community & Economic Development Program at the University Of North Carolina School Of Government. He also directs the North Carolina Local Government Service Corps, a program to train and deploy Master of Public Administration graduates into the service of rural local governments.

Before joining the UNC, Will worked with the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) on a range of research and advocacy projects. There he authored two other major studies: Back on Track: Promising Practices to Help Dislocated Workers, Businesses and Communities for the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center and Business Retention and Expansion: Synergizing Service Delivery in North Carolina. He holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado and a Master of Public Policy from Duke’s Sanford Institute.



Eric P. Canada

Chief Strategist, Blane, Canada Ltd.

Eric P. Canada of Blane, Canada Ltd. is a nationally recognized authority on economic development marketing and business retention. In his 1995 book, Economic Development: Marketing for Results! Mr. Canada outlined the application of b2b (business-to-business) strategies in an economic development environment. He has conducted marketing program audits of 50 of the top economic development organizations in the US. Mr. Canada created a competitive capacity analysis technique and benchmarks to replace the subjective SWOT analysis.

Mr. Canada created standards for business retention where none existed before. Now, the Synchronist Key Performance Indicators allow local, regional, and state EDOs to compare their findings to national benchmarks providing a clear picture of their competitive position. He created the Synchronist Business Information System® to manage existing business strategy. He also manages the largest BRE research collaborative in North America.

Mr. Canada regularly works with clients to develop effective marketing and existing business strategies and programs.



Blane, Canada Ltd.

1506 Cadet, Suite 100

Name Sales End Price Fee
Individual Registrant Ended $74 $1.85
Small Group: 2 - 5 Participants Ended $155 $3.88
Large Group: 6 or More Registrants Ended $235 $5.88

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