About CREC

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded to provide policy-makers from around the world with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.

Our staff members come from around the globe, bringing with them diverse backgrounds, and world-class skill sets.

CREC fellow

Eric Canada
Senior Research Fellow


Eric P. Canada, is a nationally recognized authority on economic development marketing as well as business retention and expansion. He is a psychologist by training, an entrepreneur at heart, and a developer by choice. He has a rich history of leadership in economic development thinking, tool development, and sharing. A few of his professional innovations include:

Competitive Capacity Analysis: Objective Key Performance Indicators (benchmarks) replacing traditionally subjective SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) assessment.

Portfolio Analysis, Predictive Modeling, Competitive Intelligence via scientifically based business retention executive interviews.

Dynamic M2M Marketing Networks, a sustainable, self-funding economic development program centered on existing manufacturing firms.

LEAN Existing Industry Strategy, a holistic regional approach to business retention and expansion.

Synchronist Suite®, a cloud-based platform for managing economic development programs, the development of scientifically derived data for solid, data driven strategy and resource allocation. The Synchronist Suite software is the first and only BR|E tool to use a) competitive intelligence in BR|E, b) predictive analytics, c) regional and national KPIs, and d) asset value assessment – above and beyond traditional data for documenting business issues.

In response to Covid-19, Canada led formation of the BR|E Emergency Response Network, an ad-hoc body of 350 professionals from 330 organizations led by a 25-member volunteer Steering Committee. The Network delivered 2 survey instruments designed to document and monitor the business and worker impact of COVID-19. By arming (survey tools) and informing (3 Best Practice webinars) local developers, the Network made it possible for them to show leadership in an economic crisis. They could contribute invaluable data to support local and regional resource allocation decisions to benefit their business clients. He recruited a technical team to donate time to build a PowerBI dashboard to display over 10,000 business responses voluntarily contributed by network members to provide the first ever national business impact assessment led by economic development professionals in only 27 days.

Eric has consistently created unique intellectual property for the economic development community. He has generated market gravity and is often cited as an industry expert. These are hallmarks of a persistent thought leader.

Mr. Canada’s new book Economic Development for the Team, is written for the new economic developer, staff, Board Members, and volunteers. Insights, diagrams, graphics, and success stories help make concepts relatable. The built-in glossary puts the acronyms and language of the profession at hand.

In his first book, Economic Development for Results, Mr. Canada successfully adopted business-to-business marketing techniques to economic development marketing challenges long before B2B became fashionable. The book broke ground helping: Accelerated the professionalization of the marketing function in economic development; Laid the ground work for applying competitive intelligence to business retention and expansion; Set in motion forces that would create national benchmarks for business assessment (patented); Spawned innovation in BR|E leading to the award-winning Synchronist Suite® software.

A veteran of local, regional, and statewide economic development positions, he began his consulting career in 1994. Canada has a BS, Psychology, Indiana University and completed Economic Development Institute as well as Chamber of Commerce Management Institute. He has taught at EDI, 8 Basic Economic Development Courses, as well as for a host of national economic development organizations.

Canada’s published primary research includes: The Art of Inquiry: Business Retention Interview Design, 1998; Missing Link: A Vision for Retention and Expansion, BR|E Results and Outcomes Research, 2002. BR|E International Benchmark Evaluation, 2014.

Whitepapers and articles include: The industry approved definition of BR|E2018; Locked in the Twilight Zone: Business Retention Fails the Strategic Value Test (Trilogy, Part 1); Rocketing out of the Twilight Zone: Gaining Strategic Insight from Business Retention (Trilogy, Part 2); (Trilogy, Part 3); the Missing Link: A Vision for Retention and Expansion; Breaking the Habit: Branding Strategies for Business Retention, BR|E Coaches Playbook, Elevating the Game

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