National Center for
Economic Gardening 

The nation’s premier entrepreneurial economic development program


An Entrepreneurial Approach

Economic Gardening® is the gold standard for an entrepreneurial approach to economic development.  The program focuses on supporting local stage 2 growth companies with strategic information and frameworks to grow jobs locally.

Economic Gardening® is the oldest and best tested entrepreneurial economic development program in the country. In 1987, Chris Gibbons and Jim Woods brainstormed a groundbreaking idea: develop an entrepreneurial approach to economic development.  At the time, the standard practice was to recruit companies from other communities (economic hunting).  The unconventional thesis suggested that economic developers could stay at home and help local entrepreneurs grow their companies (economic gardening).  

Over time, this new idea spread across the nation, and today entrepreneurship has become a standard part of many economic development portfolios. Economic Gardening’s pioneering work has been recognized worldwide and has received a number of national awards.

The essence of the program is using sophisticated tools for strategic research combined with “New Sciences” analytical frameworks to help local companies scale up and create jobs and wealth in the community. The program was tested and refined in depth for over two decades in Littleton Colorado, and then in breadth all across the nation for another decade.

The National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG) was established in to help states, regions and communities set up and run Economic Gardening programs.  The NCEG provides training, certification, and a national team which can immediately start a pilot project for evaluation.  The team specialists use corporate tools like database research, search engine optimization, geographic information systems, and listening posts to find new markets, provide competitive intelligence and industry trends, assess digital marketing efforts and find qualified sales leads.

Economic Gardening®:

    • 35 years in the making.
    • Advised by some of the best minds in economics.
    • Sophisticated corporate level tools.
    • Cutting edge new sciences.
    • A stream of innovative new ideas.
    • Tested in over 3,500 engagements all across the country.
    • National awards for innovation/international recognition.
    • The best entrepreneurial program in the country, bar none.

Program Details

The NCEG has a turn-key approach for putting an Economic Gardening program into place, beginning with a 5-company pilot program. The package includes a national team ready to go to work immediately as well as the tools, processes, collateral material and training needed to ensure the success of the program…


Economic Gardening traces its roots back to 1987 in Littleton, Colorado, when Martin Marietta cut its workforce in half in response to the dissolution of the USSR. The resulting 7,000 lost jobs led the city council to rely less on out-of-state corporations and more on local growth companies…

Training & Certification

The National Center for Economic Gardening provides training and certification in Economic Gardening principles and practices twice a year. These sessions have two tracks: program administrator and technical staff. Contact us to learn more about our training and certification programs…

Testimonials and Outcomes

Economic Gardening has consistently produced excellent outcomes in all parts of the country and in all kinds of economic conditions. These testimonials and outcomes provide a good overview of typical engagements as well as the testimonials from growth company CEOs…

Interested in learning more about the National Center for Economic Gardening?