Business Retention and Expansion (often simply called BR&E) includes all efforts to encourage the survival and growth of a community's existing businesses.

Examples of the hundreds of possibilities include:

  • Providing technical training for new employees.
  • Providing management seminars for employers.
  • Helping firms identify local sources of input supplies and materials.
  • Encouraging better labor/management relations.
  • Reducing the cost and upgrading the quality of local government services.
  • Establishing better school-workplace relations and fit.
  • Retaining youth in the community.

All of these examples help firms to become more productive and thus more competitive. These ideas don't try to hold the clock in place or to roll it back. Instead they help your local firms stay ahead of their competitors in other communities.

A BR&E Visitation program is a planning process for setting priorities for community sponsored Business Retention and Expansion programs that best fit the needs of local firms. A BR&E Visitation program recognizes that few communities can do everything that they would like to do to help their existing firms. Your community probably does not have the funds nor the leadership time to do it all. So--you have to decide what types of projects could do the most for your local firms. Your priority projects depend on the types of firms in your community, the competitive pressures they are facing, the nature of your local public services, the qualities of your labor force, and many other factors.