Readiness Assessment

Readiness Assessment

The goal of the Readiness Assessment is to help build on the exciting momentum for inclusive economic development already growing in cities across the country. The initiative will help participating cities to :

  • engage in a diaglogue around economic inclusion priorities

  • better understand their local inclusive entrepreneurial landscape

  • build awareness, support, and alignment among a set of cross-sector stakeholders about approaches to strengthen opportunities for local, inclusive entrepreneurship.

The finished product will be an action-ready plan, whose development by the local stakeholder group is guided by Forward Cities’ methodology and research inputs. There is the opportunity to join our national network of cities and participate in a future accelerator cohort that puts the plan into action.

Strategies to measure impact

We help local coalitions of community partners and economic development stakeholders co-create strategies that lower barriers to access and participation in their entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our process of local priority and barrier discovery, strategic alignment and strategy development follows a human-centered and empathetic design approach. It is facilitated by a part-time Project Manager and informed by city-specific research inputs.


Forward Cities research has developed a set of indicators that guide the local stakeholders to define a target population and select priority neighborhoods. They focus, among others, on:

  • wealth gap, earnings gap, opportunity gap
  • growth industries, labor force in alternative work arrangements
  • entrepreneurial dynamism and density.



Prior to Engagement Start

Selection of cities to participate in the cohort. Identification of local community members who would serve as the Readiness Assessment Project Managers

Month 1

Training of Project Managers and formation of cross-sector Inclusive Ecosystem Working Group

Month 2

Delivery of customized Economic Inclusion Indicators report to each city

Month 2-5

Working Group meetings to determine the people, places, and methods that could be used to implement the plan being developed as a part of this engagement

Month 4

Invitation for 5-6 cross-sector leaders from each participating city to attend a two-day site visit to a Forward City implementing an Accelerator

Month 5

One-day strategic planning workshop within each participating city with local working group, project manager, and Forward Cities to review Indicator data, strengthen understanding and alignment among participants, and discuss implications for city economic development and potential strategies for a path forward

Month 6

Invitation of 5-6 cross-sector leaders from each participating city to attend the Forward Cities spring conference

Month 7

Go/no-go decision on participating in next cohort of cities (if funding for each city has been identified)

For additional information about Forward Cities Readiness Assessment and to

discuss participating in our next cohort, please contact:
Brett Brenton, Director of Readiness Assessments,
[email protected]

From Our Members

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