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DPP wins top honors in annual IEDC awards

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WILMINGTON — Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) received the highest honors in the International Economic Development Council’s 2021 Excellence in Economic Development Awards. With more than 500 entries from four countries, the IEDC awards are among the most competitive for excellence in economic development. The DPP team was recognized for Delaware Summit 2020: A Virtual Familiarization Tour in the special event category of the annual competition.

Rehoboth Beach-based SoDel Concepts led a cooking demonstration while discussing Delaware with site selectors. PHOTO COURTESY OF DPP

“The COVID-19 pandemic precluded most in-person activity last year, but the DPP team was determined to continue building relationships with site selectors,” DPP President and CEO Kurt Foreman explained. “So, we created a virtual familiarization tour for site selectors interested in Delaware’s key industry sectors in central and southern Delaware.”

Delaware’s reputation as “a state of neighbors” is a key element of its value proposition, and this is easily experienced during a traditional familiarization tour when site selectors visit Delaware. In 2020, the DPP team and its statewide economic development partners invited site selectors to experience Delaware’s neighborly trademark virtually. Delaware Summit 2020 allowed site selectors from throughout the United States to “Zoom in” on why businesses should choose Delaware for successful location and expansion.

Summit activities included workshops and networking sessions for national site selectors and Delaware economic developers along with interactive cooking events led by Rehoboth Beach-based SoDel Concepts that gave participants the opportunity to enjoy Delaware flavors, build rapport over a shared meal and hear from the owners of nationally renowned Delaware-based businesses – including Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton and Katey Evans of The Frozen Farmer in Bridgeville –  why they chose Delaware. Delaware Summit 2020 also gave site selectors a rare opportunity to engage directly with a state’s governor – all while experiencing Delaware’s “state of neighbors” feeling for themselves.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Tom Kucharski in a statement. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

Delaware Summit 2020 established connections between site selectors specializing in the industry sectors prominent in Central and Southern Delaware and the Delaware representatives with communities to promote for business location and expansion. Site selectors were impressed by the sessions and content that focused on the benefits of choosing Delaware and agreed that the virtual event gave them a fresh look at a state some had known little about – and made them eager to learn more. Gov. John Carney’s enthusiasm and assurance of Delaware’s commitment to economic development also resonated strongly with them.

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