ED Awards

2019 National Economic Development Awards for Excellence


Download the Awards Guidelines Booklet


Award Categories

1. Economic Development Strategic Thinking

This award recognises strategies where economic development outcomes are the leading factors and basis influencing the approach adopted. EDA is looking for areas such as employment / workforce / investment / industrial and commercial development.

2. Economic Development Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion is a vital skill for many economic development practitioners. Submissions should describe the whole process from the planning stage through to implementation. Success is not measured by the size or budget of a campaign but the effectiveness of the methods and approach adopted. This award is ideal to present your winning regional branding and / or tourism marketing strategies and campaigns using innovative content development tactics.

3. Economic Development through Partnerships

This award recognises excellence in economic development through meaningful linkages and collaboration. Submissions should demonstrate that there has been an enhanced economic revitalisation of a region or industry by taking a partnership approach (private/public, local/state or state/national or any number of combinations). It may include partnerships by economic development organisations with non- economic development organisations.  Please note: It is advised that a paid consultancy is not considered a partnership.

4. Community Collaboration in Economic Development

EDA invites submissions where community was central to the whole approach; where success hinged on community engagement and participation. Applicants should demonstrate extensive crosscommunity collaboration and community building efforts. This award recognises people orientated and place orientated programs, single events to mobilise a community or particular sectors of the community like youth or at-risk skill sets.

5. Economic Development Initiatives – under 15,000 residents

This award recognises programs or projects that have stimulated economic development activity in smaller regions. A diverse range of initiatives are included, from retaining and growing existing businesses, boosting investment raising employment opportunities and more. EDA encourages submissions which articulate the goals and the outcomes achieved, highlighting how the outcomes contributed to economic development in the region.

6. Economic Development Initiatives – over 15,000 residents.

This award recognises programs or projects that have stimulated economic development activity in larger regions. A diverse range of initiatives are included, from retaining and growing existing businesses, boosting investment raising employment opportunities and more. Submissions should describe the goals set and the outcomes achieved, highlighting how the outcomes contributed to economic development in the region.

7. Economic Development Initiatives – rural and remote areas.

(excludes councils and organisationswithin capital city boundaries of every state and territory plus Townsville, Cairns, Sunshine Coast,
Gold Coast, Newcastle, Wollongong, Albury-Wodonga, Geelong, Mandurah) 

This award recognises programs where remoteness is integral to the design of the program or plays a part in how the program is implemented. A rural or remote setting is an added complexity and requires significant effort to overcome the “tyranny of distance.” This award focuses on innovative approaches to drive economic development outcomes in these settings. The population of the area is not relevant to this award.

8. Economic Development single event or activity

This award recognises the effort and drive required to host or manage a successful event or activity. EDA is seeking a clear understanding of the objectives, and the mechanism adopted to reach those goals. This could include selecting stakeholders, fostering sponsorship, collaborating with businesses and developing marketing techniques. This can include seminars, forums or marketing tours designed to develop prospects and promote economic development. The submission should demonstrate the outcomes and success or otherwise and the lessons learned from it.

9. Digital Entrepreneurs

Given the pace of digital transformation and digital disruption, the workforce and the workplace is being repurposed and new skills are being added to all job titles. EDA is seeking submissions where digital technology is central to the purpose and delivery of the initiative or project, where it incorporates technology into daily work life and the objective is boosting employment opportunities, productivity and / or resilience. Submissions may present initiatives such as digital hubs, incubators, app development,
accelerators, AI development / implementation, augmented reality development / implementation, etc.


10. The Peter Chaffey Economic Development Leadership Award (Economic Development Practitioner – over 30 years old)

This award recognises an individual who has demonstrated exemplary performance in the economic development profession. Successful nominations will have had a significant impact on revitalising communities, and will have been at the forefront of developing and delivering projects that drive innovation and change. They will have played a major role in shaping and improving the practice of economic development.

Nominations must not exceed 1,000 words (typed double spaced pages) and should be accompanied by at least one (not more than three) letters of endorsement which should be no more than two pages and must be submitted in conjunction with the application. Nominations for the award must be a member of EDA and endorsed by an EDA member.

11. Economic Development Rising Star Leadership (Economic Development Practitioner – up to 30 years old)

This award recognises outstanding achievement by a young, emerging leader in the economic development profession. Nominations should detail the significant career achievements to date and the impact of those achievements on the organisation and the community as a whole, and also explain how these achievements have contributed to the advancement of economic development as a profession.

Nominations for the award must be endorsed by an EDA member and will recognise not just their contribution to economic development but their level of community involvement. Nominations should be accompanied by a minimum of one, and not more than three, letters of endorsement on behalf of the applicant, from their supervisor, board chair, or other significant leader in the community who is actively involved with the applicant’s organisation (e.g., a mayor or a key business leader). Nominations must not exceed 1,000 words (typed double spaced pages); letters of endorsement should be no more than two pages and must be submitted in conjunction with the application. Applicants must be no more than 30 years of age on the deadline submission date. Their date of birth must be noted on their application. It is advised that nominees for the Economic Development Practitioner award must be a member of EDA.

12. Economic Development Leadership Award (Elected Member)

This award recognises an individual who has displayed dedication and commitment to his/her community as a leader and advocate for economic development. They will have demonstrated sustained and effective efforts to work with community groups and industry leaders in the development of programs and projects. Nominations for the award must be endorsed by an EDA member but the nominee does not need to be a member of EDA to be eligible to receive this award.


Application process

The following criteria / rules to apply:

  • Entries open 1st May 2019 and close on Friday 1st August at 5pm AEST
  • The same project and/or application cannot be used for different categories
  • EDA Award for Excellence winners from previous years may not re-submit the same applications unless there have been significant developments
  • Applicants may submit different applications in more than one category
  • Awards presented will be to the organisation or person named on the application form
  • Projects eligible must have had their activities occur between 1 Jan 2018 – May 1 2019
  • No alterations to applications will be permitted after the date of submission although submissions may be withdrawn prior to announcement of winners
  • A representative must be present at the awards function at NEDC 2019 (Adelaide)
  • There is no entry fee
  • Judges may select up to three category finalists and one category winner for each category
  • Judges may award an encouragement or highly commended award in each category
  • Judges may decide to not award finalists or winners
  • For categories 1 to 9, entry is open to all economic development practitioners
  • For categories 10, 11 & 12, the entry must be endorsed by an EDA member
  • For categories 10 & 11, award nominees must be a current EDA member
  • These awards will be judged to recognise excellence and there will be no correspondence entered into by the applicants with any of the judging panel
  • Judges will be looking for economic development examples that show the application of professional economic development principles that generate measurable success in the economy

Applications are to be lodged online only.


With the exception of the submissions for an Honorary Award, the judges will use the following criteria
to assess all submissions:

  1. The economic development issue. Please provide an executive summary describing the problem, opportunity, challenge, aspiration which instigated / inspired this initiative. 10%
  2. The economic development process. Please describe the planning process and the implementation plan to address the issue. Include how you achieved engagement (if required), what challenges you faced and how you addressed them, etc. 35%
  3. Measures. How did you decide what to measure to show the results of your economic development activity? What benefits / results were achieved. 35%
  4. Learnings. What advice would you provide to other economic development professionals trying to implement a similar project / address similar challenges / achieve similar outcomes? Explain what you would have done differently, what was the secret to your success, etc. 20%

A judging panel comprising of leading Australian economic development practitioners who have no conflict of interest with your application will be used to assess entries. They may consider withholding awards in any category at their discretion. The decision of the judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.


Applicants need to consider the importance of protecting the intellectual property which may be contained in applications. You may need to protect your intellectual property relating to innovative ideas prior to it being publicly disclosed. Economic Development Australia accepts no responsibility or liability for loss of any commercial privilege or any other things which constitutes loss or damage as a result of an entry in these awards.


The following points must be agreed and submitted with your application to be considered (included within online Application)

  • I have the authority, knowledge and approval of the applicant to submit this information
  • The information contained in this application is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge
  • I acknowledge and approve Economic Development Australia to use the information in this application for any promotional or marketing they deem appropriate
  • I have read the rules and conditions of entry and agree to abide by them
  • I accept the judge’s decision as final


All finalists will be advised of their selection and details of the awards presentation. Edited summaries of entries may be published on the web and in the media.

Economic Development Australia reserves the right to use all or any of the materials entered in the competition for promotions of the awards. Under no circumstances shall the organisers be held responsible for the payment of royalties or other charges for the use of material provided in support of the awards. All entries become the property of EDA on submission.

No responsibility for loss or misdirection of entries will be accepted by EDA or its contractors.

Download the Awards Guidelines Booklet


View 2018 Award Winners & Finalists →