Elevating and Expanding the Traditional Business Retention & Expansion Program

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April 29, 2014

PI: Bowen-Ellzey, N. (Ohio State University)
Co-PIs: Civittolo, D. (Ohio State University), Hutcheson, S. (Purdue University) & Ladjahasan N. (Iowa State University)

Project Abstract

There is widespread recognition that active Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) programs promote business growth, job creation and healthier economies. BR&E was developed by George Morse in the mid-1980s, and the program has been executed in a multitude of communities throughout the nation. Land Grant Universities within the NCRCRD region have led efforts to implement BR&E-related programs and an array of process methods and tools in multiple communities with varying levels of success.

BR&E has been a staple program since its development and a “Signature Program” since 2009 at The Ohio State University. The program contains a packaged curriculum, which includes three workshops, programmatic tools and templates and turn-key software to support a comprehensive BR&E program on a local or regional level. Website and marketing materials have been professionally developed to promote the program. To date, the program has served over 140 communities in 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The Ohio team is collaborating with Land Grant Universities in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota, in addition to the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, to remodel an older BR&E program by infusing components of complementary business development initiatives, impact analysis, and innovative technology. The revitalized, hybrid BR&E program will include an expanded bank of surveys and questions, updated process and evaluation tools, and development of a new web and mobile application for interactive use by local economic development practitioners. The program will be elevated and expanded for replication throughout the NCRCRD region to grow businesses that help grow local economies.

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