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Economic Development Agency Strategic Planning

APEX Strategic Planning and Stakeholder Input

Praxis Strategy Group led APEX, an economic development organization covering 10 counties in the Duluth, MN, through a process to create a new strategic plan and organizational priorities.

With a staff of just five, APEX works with a wide variety of stakeholders, including its member-investors, partners, other economic development agencies, and communities across a large geographic region. The agency must remain attentive to the needs of these stakeholders while adapting to changes in in the broadening economic development field.

Praxis led 11 focus group discussions using and audience response system to gauge perceptions of stakeholders and partners. Those unable to attend a focus group completed online surveys mirroring focus group questions.

The new research findings became the foundation for facilitated planning sessions with the organization’s board and executive committees. As the board developed priorities, Praxis led staff through the development of a new framework for action. The new plan launched at the organization’s quarterly member-investor meeting, and the new research themes developed by the project will position APEX as a thought leader in the region.