IEDC Excellence in Economic Development Awards

October 2022

International Economic Development Council recognizes Kingsport, Sync Space for Excellence Awards across Multiple Categories

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest nonprofit professional association for professional economic developers in the world, has selected the recipients of its 2022 Excellence Awards. Recognized each year during the IEDC Annual Conference, the awards honor organizations for exemplary economic development marketing campaigns, projects, and programs. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, & rural communities.

“Communities need our profession now more than ever. This year’s awardees exemplify the ingenuity, leadership, and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and the future. The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives for every day,” shared IEDC President and CEO Nathan Ohle.

Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world. IEDC received over 500 submissions from the United States and internationally.

“We are very grateful that Innovation Village in Kingsport has been awarded by the IEDC for entrepreneurship and collaboration.” says Heath Guinn, President of Sync Space, “It’s amazing the momentum and impact that can be made when organizations across the economic ecosystem come together to provide a pathway for success in our communities.”

Innovation Village was presented with three awards from the International Economic Development Council in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Public-Private Partnerships, and Partnerships with Educational Institutions. Innovation Village, adjacent to Kingsport’s Academic Village, reflects a strategic vision to position Kingsport as the advanced manufacturing innovation hub of Central Appalachia, an entrepreneurial sandbox for creators and inventors, and a community center for training a digital workforce. The project was designed in the heart of downtown Kingsport as a commitment to support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, remote workforce, creators and innovators. 

Innovation Village is supported through funding, staffing, and other resources by an array of partners, including: the City of Kingsport, Sullivan County, ETSU Research Corporation, Northeast State Community College, Create Appalachia, Model City Makerspace, FoundersForge, Kingsport Academic Village and Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Sync Space.

“For students, entrepreneurs, and the community at large, we provide a variety of classes, ongoing education, and professional equipment to continue honing their craft and learning new skills,” says Guinn. “Entrepreneurs and small business owners are benefited from access to this equipment, training, and mentorship as well. By offering classes in digital marketing, leadership skills, veteran-focused entrepreneurial support, and much more, we can directly support the regional economy and provide pathways for talented people to remain or relocate to our region.”


The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,800 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at



Sync Space Entrepreneur Center is a 501(c)3 and the Launch Tennessee partner for northeast Tennessee. Sync Space programs range from early idea validation and workshops to accelerator programs uniquely focused on support for local and recruited startups considering northeast Tennessee as a place to grow or expand their business. Sync Space programming aligns startups with key partners and industries that offer mentorship, opportunities for investment, and pilot program opportunities. To learn more about Sync Space Entrepreneur Center, visit:

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