Arlington, VA, USA

Business Development Advisors (BDA)

Team Members

  • Ellen D. Harpel, Ph. D.  is the founder and president of Business Development Advisors LLC (BDA), an economic de-velopment and market intelligence consulting firm in the U.S. Established in 1999, BDA works with economic development leaders at the local, regional and national levels to increase business investment and job growth in their communities. She is also the founder of Smart Incentives, which helps governments and investment promotion agencies use economic development incen-tives in an effective and responsible manner.


  • Services and regional economic growth
  • Professional and business services/KIBS
  • Economic development incentive design, effectiveness, and management
  • Gig and independent work


  • »Gig and Independent Work in US Metropolitan Economies and Service Industries.«, XXIX International RESER Conference. Ceuta, Spain. September 2019.
  • »Gig and Independent Work. A New Frontier for Economic Development.«, IEDC Economic Development Journal 18:3 (18-24). Summer 2019.
  • »New Disclosure Rules and the Future of Incentives.«, IEDC Economic Development Journal. 15:3(19-25). 2016.
  • »Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investment Incentives.«, In Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options. Ed. Ana Teresa Tavares-Lehmann, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson, and Lisa Sachs. Columbia University Press. 2016.
  • »Services in the Detroit regional economy: Implications for a city in transition.«, The Service Industries Journal. 31:3-4(597-612). 2011.
  • »Recession and Professional and Business Services Employment in the US: No Safe Haven.«, Povos e Culturas. No. 14. CEPCEP, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. March 2011.
  • »Putting human capital policies into practice–thinking beyond the young, the restless, and the creative.«, Applied Research in Economic Development. 6:1(50-62). 2009.
  • Human Capital and Women Business Ownership.«, Darrene Hackler, Ellen Harpel, and Heike Mayer (Business Development Advisors). U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. 2008.
  • »Professional and Business Services in Regional Economies.«, IEDC Economic Develop-ment Journal. 5:4(50-57). 2006.