Local economic development (LED) is a process which brings together different partners in a local area to work together and harness local resources for sustainable economic growth (CLGF’s 2011 Cardiff Consensus for Local Economic Development). LED is locally-owned by local public and private stakeholders working together under the leadership of local government to maximize local resources for the purpose of supporting sustainable economic development. (Eris Schoburgh Sep 12, 2013) The Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP) aims to “build quality jobs for the current population, achieve local economic stability, and build a diverse economy and employment base”. Additionally, “it promotes identification of own resources/assets, the ultimate goal of economic growth of a geographic space”. (Eris Schoburgh Sep 12, 2013)
The LEDSP has four components:
- The foremost action is the strengthening of capacities and capabilities within the SDC that equips Community Development Officers with the requisite knowledge and skills to guide communities in the progress of their Local Economic Initiatives (LEI). Study tours to specially selected national and international sites where LED models are institutionalized will form a part of the capacity enhancement strategies of the SDC.
- Community groups will benefit from capacity building activities that will enable them to develop business models and other documents, and manage existing local economic initiatives effectively. The beneficiaries of these capacity building initiatives are CDCs, DACs and PDCs.
Networking, Marketing and Partnership Building
- Information is critical to an effective LEDSP and thus the SDC prioritizes the creation of a database of LEIs, partners, and opportunities for funding as well as for marketing and general information provision. The SDC’s website serves as this portal to provide information to all partners. Additionally, a critical activity used to assist LEIs in expanding their networking platform and increasing sales is the Business Fairs/Expositions, Economic Night Fairs and Pop – Up Shops.
Direct Technical Support
- This component provides the catalyst required to bolster the sustainability of LE Initiatives. The Commission delivers a suite of support services to include coaching in grant proposal writing and business registration; training in business idea development, business model and plan development.
Implementation of an Incentive Scheme
- The incentives scheme will be aimed to identify and support financially qualified community groups that are creatively involved in viable local economic development projects. Assistance will be provided via the SDC’s Community Incentives Grant Programme.