About CEC

CEC-logoThe Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC®) program is an economic development strategy that helps communities become entrepreneur-ready. That means every door leads to opportunity. The overall business climate, policies, and opportunities to learn and grow are simple to find and available. It also means there’s a positive, enthusiastic attitude that permeates the culture. Certified communities make a commitment to ongoing action planning and implementation of entrepreneur initiatives. A Certified Entrepreneurial Community® signifies this is a place where entrepreneurs succeed.

The original CEC® program was developed by AdvantageWest, a regional economic development organization, in 2007, as a service to its member communities. Over the next eight years, the program certified 10 communities. When AdvantageWest closed in 2015, Creative EDC purchased CEC®. An evaluation in 2013 found that for the program to have current current market potential, it needed major retooling. Creative EDC, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Places and Innovative Economies, totally redesigned the program. We streamlined the process, developed clear steps to certification, incorporated a score card to measure results, and added ongoing coaching and support. Today, the CEC® program adds measurable value to a community’s economic development efforts.

Ecosystem Assessment

  • Baseline research
  • Entrepreneur resource directory
  • Develop a leadership team
  • Engage the entrepreneur community

Action Plan with a Scorecard

  • Identify two entrepreneur activities for action planning
  • Track and measure progress with a Score Card

Coaching of Two Task Teams for 6 months

  • The CEC® provides coaching to support Action Plan implementation
  • Access to entrepreneur development training and content

Evaluation and Certification

  • The community is certified after completing the Ecosystem Assessment and making progress on the Action Plan documented by the Score Card

Action Plan for Year 2

  • The process concludes with an Action Plan for Year 2

Ongoing Coaching and Training

  • Ongoing training, support, and coaching is available to communities in Year 2