Research shows that up to 86% of new jobs are created by existing businesses in a community, rather than businesses attracted to a community*. Keeping an existing business in the community is usually easier than recruiting a new business. Therefore, Extension's BR&E program has offerings that help community leaders and communities to work together to identify barriers local businesses face as they try to survive and grow.
See the most current evidence of BR&E's significance.
BR&E Strategies Program -- With the help of University of Minnesota Extension expertise, the community surveys local businesses and analyzes the results. The resulting report provides valuable information and ideas to invigorate the local economy through targeted action. BR&E reports don't sit on a shelf. Because the BR&E process leads the community through three major steps - Research, Prioritize, Implement - ideas turn into action. View the BR&E Flow Chart (PDF).
Extension has served economic development efforts in Minnesota through its Business Retention and Expansion program since 1990. We're eager to share what we've learned with the economic development field and, especially, with Minnesota communities.
For a detailed overview of the BR&E Strategies approach you could review this booklet (PDF) at The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development website. It is part of a 5-booklet BR&E Visitation Program training curriculum by George Morse and Scott Loveridge. They are available for purchase from NERCRD here.
"The City of Forest Lake partnered with the University of Minnesota with their BR&E Program. It has been a tremendous success. Through
the process, we have greatly improved the communication between businesses and City Hall. The business community feels they have a
voice in some of the decisions being made, as well as having input in future changes within our City. Businesses in our community do not
want a handout, they want less restrictions put on them. The BR&E Program is benefiting all stakeholders in our community."
Mayor 2006 - 2010
Rapid Press Printing, Forest Lake - owner
"For Monticello the BR&E really helped us connect better as a community. We were able to start breaking down the negative City
versus business attitude. Participants have said the greatest benefit to our community has been the change in attitude toward the city and
the numerous business to business connections made. There seems to be a more cohesive business and city atmosphere."
Economic Development Director
City of Monticello
"I felt our BR&E process was a great way to bring people within the
community (Lyon County) from all aspects of life and careers for the benefit of the entire
area. BR&E was the single biggest effort we have ever done as far as an
expanded survey that was done with a large percentage of businesses. The
survey results have literally been used dozens of times since in various
presentations. Our BR&E process has yielded processes or programs that we will do
ongoing as a result that the community will benefit from forever."
Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce
* A range of job estimates (attributable to BR&E) from Birch, Kraybill, and Little as compiled by Henry Cothran, University of Florida, in Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Programs: Why Existing Businesses Are Important, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe651. Original publication date August 2006. Revised January 2009. Reviewed January 2012.