Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E)

About BR+E

BR+E Tools and Resources

BR+E Training

Example Final BR+E Reports

BR+E Request Form

Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is a structured action-oriented, community-based approach to business and economic development. It promotes job growth by helping communities learn about issues as well as opportunities for local businesses and sets priorities for initiatives to address their needs.

It is important to recognize that few communities can do everything they would like to in order to support existing businesses. The BR+E program helps communities to identify their priorities.

The BR+E program uses trained volunteers to visit businesses and conduct confidential interviews with the senior level management, owners or managers. Data analysis and action planning is then undertaken to address issues and opportunities.

The BR+E program is based on an in-depth four stage, 12 step process:

  1. Preparation

    Step 1 – Assess Community Readiness

    Step 2 – Form the Leadership Team

    Step 3 – Project Design

    Step 4 – Volunteer Recruitment and Training

  2. Collect and Analyze

    Step 5 - Conduct Business Interviews

    Step 6 – Address Immediate Concerns and Opportunities

    Step 7 – Data Analysis

  3. Develop Goals and Action Plans

    Step 8 - Host BR+E Task Force Retreat

    Step 9 - Prepare Final Report and Action Plan

    Step 10 - Communicate Results

  4. Implement and Monitor

    Step 11 – Implement Action Plans

    Step 12 - Monitor and Track Progress

Specific BR+E project goals may vary from community to community, and could include:

Short-term goals of BR+E
  • Build and improve relations with existing businesses
  • Build capacity within the community and strengthen relationships between organizations
  • Identify the positive and challenging attributes of the community as a place to do business
  • Identify and address immediate concerns and issues of individual businesses through an assessment and referral process
  • Collect business and market data to support economic development planning
  • Establish and implement a strategic action plan to support existing businesses
Long-term goals for BR+E
  • Increase the competitiveness of existing businesses
  • Enable business development, investment and job creation
  • Foster and enhance the environment for business development

BR+E Tools and Resources

There are a variety of tools and resources that have been developed to assist communities conducting a BR+E project.

  • An easy-to-follow BR+E Coordinator's Manual
  • A comprehensive business retention survey and optional business sectors questions (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining, Natural Resources, Retail, Tourism and Local Food).
  • Access to the online Executive Pulse data management system. Executive Pulse is the most widely used database system for managing business retention and expansion projects in North America. It is a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use system that allows for easy data entry, some customized community questions, and extensive reporting capabilities.
  • Training for the BR+E Coordinator to ensure they have a solid understanding of the BR+E process and the knowledge to effectively coordinate and implement projects.
  • Other resources include sample volunteer job descriptions, press releases, letters and meeting formats that can be easily customized.
  • A provincial roll-up of BR+E survey results.
  • Provincial Staff Advisors that can provide coaching and advice throughout the project.

BR+E Training

Training is available for the BR+E Coordinators to ensure they have a solid understanding of the BR+E process to effectively coordinate and implement projects.

The training is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 - Planning and Conducting a BR+E Project. This 1.5 day training focuses on preparation and effectively conducting the business interviews.
  • Part 2 - Analyzing and Reporting on a BR+E Project. This one day session will provide Coordinators the skills to analyze and report on your BR+E project.

Overview of the Executive Pulse data management system

These free 1 hour webinars will provide a demonstration of how the Executive Pulse system supports a BR+E project.

Examples of Final BR+E Reports

BR+E Request Form

If you would like to receive a free copy of the BR+E Coordinators Manual or are interested in training, complete a request form.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 12 February 2015
Last Reviewed: 28 July 2015