PDI Blog

BR&E Course Offered by University of Minnesota Extension

University of Minnesota Extension is pleased to again offer a course in Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) strategies for economic development (ED) and community development (CD) professionals and stakeholders. Our redesigned and updated course, “Business Retention and Expansion in Your Community,” combines both in-person and online learning in a blended approach that offers the best of both worlds.


Who should take this course?

  • ED and CD professionals working for cities, counties or regions who need to effectively reach out to businesses in their area.
  • Other community leaders who are interested in a proven, community-centered method for improving their local business climate by focusing on retaining and expanding existing businesses. 
  • Both newcomers to, and veterans of, BR&E experiences. Newcomers will receive first-time exposure to BR&E concepts, while veterans will get a valuable refresher and gain perspective. Both will benefit from networking with each other. 
  • Professionals from state government, colleges and universities, utilities, and nonprofits, and staff from other allies of the economic development community.


We’ll cover a wide range of topics, including conducting effective business visits, survey instruments, building and sustaining effective teams, identifying short-term business needs (warning flag analysis) and long-term priorities, interpreting data for trends and ideas, moving from analysis to implementation, and evaluating your BR&E efforts. Students will learn from University of Minnesota and external experts, as well as from each other.

Learning will occur in multiple ways, including conventional presentations and readings,as well as hands-on experiences and role playing, conducting a BR&E visit to a real business, video and audio recordings, simulated community planning sessions, online discussion forums and creating a BR&E work plan for a fictional community or your own town.

See the course website for more information: http://z.umn.edu/brecourse.


Please join us for this stimulating course, or send someone who would benefit from it. Completing this course will equip you with everything you need to know to implement BR&E strategies in your community. 

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