BR&E Strategies Program: Getting Started
The BR&E Strategies program has been used by over 60 Minnesota communities, including neighborhoods, cities, counties, and groups of counties. Programs have focused on manufacturing; combinations of manufacturing, retail, and services; tourism; livestock; farming; and technology.
Although there is considerable flexibility in the type of BR&E program a community may select to do, a high level of local interest and involvement is necessary to ensure the program's success in a community.
The process takes about 2-3 years and involves commitment to business retention and expansion from your community members and professionals. But in the end, your community will be truly engaged in a business retention and expansion plan. Extension provides guidance and support. We will:
- Guide recruitment of your BR&E Leadership Team and Task Force.
- Adopt a survey of businesses to your local issues.
- Train volunteers who visit local businesses to conduct the survey.
- Help you respond quickly to business concerns that arise (aka "warning flags").
- Tabulate and analyze the results of the survey.
- Generate suggestions for local action from economic development experts.
- Deliver a comprehensive report built upon your community's unique situation.
- Facilitate a community meeting to help prioritize projects.
- Stay in touch as you implement the plan.
If you are interested in pursuing a University of Minnesota BR&E program, one of our Extension Educators will be happy to meet with you.
With a newly elected Mayor in the city this past year who made it clear an Economic Development Committee would be formed, I suggested the committee invite an economic developer from Region V Economic Development Commission to advise the Council on action steps. He immediately advised conducting the Univ. of MN BR&E study and convinced other Council members that retaining and expanding the existing businesses in the community was the only way to grow vs. "chasing smokestacks." Although some balked at the $12,000 cost, the Council approved the study and I wrote a grant to the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls for $4000 to off-set the cost to the city. - Maxine Norman, Menahga, Minnesota