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BREI Member Testimonial: Lorraine Boyd, CAPM, BREP

on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 13:37

I see the importance of BREI training as twofold:

The first is professional development.  A business retention and expansion program is a cornerstone of an economic development strategy and so all economic development professionals and interested stakeholders should be given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skill set in the methodology of a BRE program.   It is very important that all players in a community understand the purpose, process and value of a successful BRE program.

The second is the professional network.  BREI membership provides any economic developer access to many colleagues that are also BRE practitioners not only across North America but also internationally.  By staying connected, sharing ideas and best practices the BRE concepts, models and value is advanced in economic development circles.

Video Showing BRE Excellence in the Small Town of Menahga

on Mon, 12/28/2015 - 18:15

Menahga, Minnesota won the BREI award for a community of under 20,000 in 2014. Take a look as this video, BR&E Results: New Housing for a Small Town, and learn how a small town in Minnesota is doing great things by using BRE.

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County of Wellington enjoys success with BRE strategies

on Wed, 12/02/2015 - 16:10

The County of Wellington in Ontario, Canada, embarked on the BRE journey beginning in 2013.  Two years later, the county has reaped significant rewards with the candle onthe cake represented by two BREI awards at the BREI Annual Conference in 2014..

However, their momentum did not end.  In October of 2015, the county began interviews with 150 businesses in their 14 downtowns in addition to 15 foreign owned businesses. Most notably, they have created the first ever foreign owned business questionnaire, vetted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  

Following the direction of BREI and using the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs toolkit, the interviews have enabled the county to build a rapport with over 300 businesses that have invested in their communities and proactively supported their growth.

From the interviews, they have:

  • an understanding of the local business climate, what it’s like to do business in Wellington
  • become aware of and improved municipal processes where possible
  • been able to celebrate the growth of certain businesses we have assisted
  • dealt with urgent issues identified in the interview process
  • connected businesses with local suppliers they were previously unaware of
  • shared best practices on our process with other communities considering a BR+E
  • created a $175,000 County fund for member municipalities to apply for up to $25,000 to assist in their BR+E Action plan stemming from the interview results and
  • provided exposure to local businesses via our interview thank you bags.

Submit a BRE article to the Journal of Community Development Society

on Tue, 11/17/2015 - 21:37

BREI is a co-sponsor of the BRE special issue of Community Development (Journal of Community Development Society).  Therefore, BREI members are encouraged to submit an abstract for a paper. The special issue is planned for 2017 and will feature 7-8 articles to comprehensively cover BRE topics.  This is a unique opportunity for the world to learn about BRE in a deeper way.  For more information, or contact Michael Darger at 612-625-6246 or

Surface Equipment Corp. enjoys success with BRE strategies from Kilgore EDC

on Mon, 11/16/2015 - 21:31

Stephen McLemore is president of Surface Equipment Corporation of Kilgore, Texas.  BRE strategies have recently been used by Heather Jurenka and the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation to grow and expand the business.  McLemore writes, "The Kilgore Economic Development Corporation has been involved and extremely helpful in working with Surface Equipment Corporation as we continue to expand our business.  Recently, KEDC was able to work with the city of Kilgore to engineer and build a new road that would withstand the weight of our heavy haul vessels and packages.  Once the construction had started, shipping and receiving faced many logistical challenges. KEDC was able to work with the city and road contractor to expedite the construction progress.  Another area that KEDC has been immensely helpful was working with a local telecommunications vendor to extend fiber optics in this area.  As our business grew, slow internet speed was taking a toll on everyday tasks.  In the past, this area has had only one internet option and provider.  In desperation, we mentioned to Heather Jurenka, Business Retention Specialist at KEDC, our internet frustrations and within one month our internet problems were addressed and plans of action were in place.  We are extremely grateful for an Economic Development Corporation and a Business Retention Specialist that truly cares about the success of our company and other local businesses.  We appreciate all that they have done to help us continue our path of growth and excellence.”  

Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E): Creating Jobs, Building Community

on Fri, 10/23/2015 - 19:33

Surveys show that existing businesses create as many as 80 percent of all new jobs in a community.  When established businesses stagnate, fail, downsize, or relocate elsewhere, communities may also experience negative ripple effects that include a cascade of other business failures, utility rate hikes, and strains on social services, schools, and families. Conversely, research shows that a thriving local economy makes that community attractive to new business ventures considering setting up shop there.  It makes sense to pay close attention to keeping those businesses in town and encouraging them to expand locally.  That’s why Cooperative Extension pioneered what’s called the Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) model of community economic development in the mid-1980s.


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BREI develops partnership with UM for BRE Coordinator certification

on Tue, 08/04/2015 - 21:44

Business Retention and Expansion International recently developed a new fast-track system to allow students at the University of Minnesota to receive the popular BRE Coordinator certification upon completion of the university’s BRE program.  Students who complete the BRE program are eligible to apply for BREI’s Coordinator certification through a newly developed private application portal just for UM students.  For more information, click on the following link or contact us at

University of Minnesota BRE Cohort

Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce Celebrate Awards from Business Retention Expansion International

on Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:48

From left to right:  Sheri Shields, Manager Business Development and BRE program manager, Rick Rebadow, Executive Vice President, Gregg Cramer, Vice President Economic Development, Marcel van den Bosch, Coordinator, and Dennis West, Manager Business Services