The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) began its strategic planning process in July 2010 with the intention of changing the foundation of economic development in the State of Delaware. Concerned with maintaining the economic health of the state, DEDO engaged AngelouEconomics and Development Counsellors International to identify appropriate strategies to enhance Delaware’s economy and position it for the future through the creation of an Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Through the planning process, it became clear that DEDO had some success in attracting new employers and growing existing companies. However, like all states, Delaware experience significant employee losses during the recession. In spite of several successes at recruiting new employers to fill these gaps, DEDO saw an opportunity to enhance and refine what it already does well, strengthening entrepreneurship and support to existing businesses and simultaneously capturing new economic development opportunities that have not been core focuses for the state until now.

Through the Market Assessment phase of the project, the AE team evaluated the business cost of competitiveness in Delaware through elements such as state budget revenue sources, including incorporation revenue, personal income tax, and corporate income tax. Incentives such as loan programs, corporate income tax credits, green incentives, and emerging funds were compared against four benchmarked states to guide the team’s final strategic recommendations and plan development. Noteworthy incentive programs offered by the benchmarked states were also highlighted.