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Business Feasibility & Economic Development Planning

Highland economists have conducted business feasibility and economic development studies for a wide variety of clients and ventures.  Highland Economics principal Travis Greenwalt leads our business feasibility studies, and draws on his education in business, years leading business feasibility and economic development studies as a consultant, as well as his personal experience as an entrepreneur and businessman.  Complementing Travis' expertise, Highland Economics principal Barbara Wyse brings her regional economic analysis expertise to these studies to assess the economic development potential of new ventures and to identify sectors with high growth potential. Our experience includes comprehensive economic development analyses as well as financial feasibility analyses of outdoor recreation based ventures, light industrial parks, irrigated agriculture and value-added agricultural ventures (for both cooperatives and private entities), coal and mineral mining, renewable energy development, and oil & gas development.  


Our financial projections are generally based on analysis of published data as well as primary data that we collect through surveys and/or focus group facilitation.   As part of our financial analyses, Highland economists incorporate uncertainty and risk using a statistical programming software, @Risk, to simulate possible outcomes. This approach provides probabilistic rather than single point estimates of likely profitability.


Our business feasibility studies at Highland Economics typically include
the following components:


  • Primary data collection, including surveys via phone, mail, internet,
    and facilitation of focus groups


  • Market demand analyses


  • Facility siting factors associated with business start-up, expansion or


  • Financial projections


  • Non-financial considerations, including regional economic benefits


Select Business Feasibility and Economic Development Studies


Industrial and Commercial Development Options, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho

For numerous Tribes throughout the Western United States, we have evaluated a reservation's natural resources, location, labor resources, and the prevailing market conditions to determine which industries are logistically and economically feasible. To date, the economists at Highland Economics have completed more than 10 of these comprehensive economic development analyses, covering dozens of industries, with more currently in progress.


Grain Mill Economic Feasibility Study, Oregon


Highland Economics conducted a feasibility study for a confidential client regarding the feasibility of developing and operating a grain mill with capabilities in cleaning and bagging a wide variety of grains.  The study included a market analysis for the crops considered, which involved a market survey of potential clients.  Highland Economics worked with equipment manufacturers and contractors to develop cost estimates for build out scenarios.  We conducted a financial analysis using a Monte Carlo simulation for key cost and revenue assumptions, using @Risk.  An economic impact analysis task was also conducted to gauge the regional economic impact of the proposed investment.


Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, Arizona


Highland Economics Principal Travis Greenwalt worked with the White Mountain Apache Tribe to develop a CEDS, which is a planning process required for Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance. The White Mountain Apache CEDS incorporated several economic research results from feasibility studies previously led by Mr. Greenwalt, including tourism and recreation development, housing construction, and commercial and industrial enterprises. As part of the CEDS development process Mr. Greenwalt facilitated several community workshops and focus groups to identify issues, identify gaps in industries on the Reservation, and gather the community’s input regarding key rural development issues.


Feasibility Analysis for a Sheep Ranch and Creamery, Montana


Highland Economics conducted a feasibility analysis of a proposed sheep ranch and creamery in Montana. This involved researching the market for the anticipated value-added products and assessing the financial viability of business venture, which included a sensitivity analysis using @Risk statistical software. Additionally, we conducted a regional economic analysis using IMPLAN software to estimate the local economic impacts of the potential venture. This study will ultimately help the client make a well-informed decision regarding their future investments.


Advisory Services for Market Demand Analysis, Oregon


Highland Economics assisted NeighborWorks Umpqua with technical advisory services related to a market demand analysis for the Regional Food Systems Concept for Douglas, Coos and Curry Counties in Oregon.  Specifically, this involved providing guidance to internal researchers on structuring and implementing a market demand survey, as well as reviewing and providing feedback on the secondary research associated with food market trends.



Analysing the Numbers
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