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Business retention and expansion, or BRE, refers to a strategy used by economic development organizations to promote and support current businesses’ growth within a specific area. This concept might seem straightforward, but the implementation can be quite complex. It involves multiple steps, from data collection and analysis to building relationships with business owners and stakeholders.

The BRE approach is built on the principle that fostering existing businesses’ growth is just as crucial, if not more so, than attracting new ones. It’s about understanding the needs and challenges these businesses face and providing them with the necessary support to overcome these hurdles. BRE isn’t merely a strategy; it’s a commitment to business prosperity in your region.

The Importance of Business Retention and Expansion in Economic Development

Now, let’s address the question: why business retention and expansion? The short answer is that BRE is a catalyst for economic development.

Most job creation comes from existing businesses rather than new ones. As such, it makes sense for economic development organizations to prioritize the needs of these businesses. Furthermore, companies that have already established themselves in a community are more likely to reinvest their profits locally, creating a multiplier effect that further stimulates the economy.

Beyond job creation and local investment, there’s also the aspect of community stability. Business retention and expansion help maintain a stable business environment, which is crucial for community growth and prosperity. BRE is not just about business; it’s about people, communities, and shared prosperity.

Advantages of Implementing a BRE Program

Now that we’ve established the importance of business retention and expansion, let’s delve into the advantages of implementing a BRE program.

Firstly, BRE programs are cost-effective. It’s often more affordable to retain and expand current businesses than to attract new ones. Secondly, BRE programs are conducive to building stronger relationships between economic development organizations and businesses. This connection is essential for understanding the business needs and challenges, enabling more targeted and impactful assistance.

Additionally, BRE programs can lead to improved business climates by revealing systemic issues affecting businesses and prompting necessary policy changes. These programs also increase local competitiveness by promoting growth and innovation within existing businesses. The advantages of a BRE program are multifold, making it a worthwhile investment for any economic development organization.

With the help of economic development CRM, you can boost your BR&E efforts to maximize their effectiveness.

The Role of Economic Development Organizations in BRE

Economic development organizations play a pivotal role in implementing successful BRE programs. Their duties range from conducting business surveys to identify needs and challenges, providing resources and support to address these issues, and advocating for policy changes that enhance the business environment.

Moreover, these organizations serve as a bridge between businesses and the community, facilitating mutual understanding and cooperation. They also foster an entrepreneurial spirit within the community, inspiring more people to start businesses and contribute to the local economy.

In essence, economic development organizations are the lifeblood of BRE programs, driving their success and ensuring their positive impact on the community.

Technology-Backed Business Retention and Expansion

As we look to the future, one thing is clear: business retention and expansion will continue to be a cornerstone strategy for economic development. As the business landscape evolves, the BRE strategies need to adapt and the best way for them to do so is with the help of economic development software.

ProTRACKPlus, as a highly advanced business retention and expansion software, provides you with the tools you need to begin and operate a stellar BRE program. It features multiple ways to communicate with your existing companies to assess their level of satisfaction. Sampling your existing customer’s satisfaction (local businesses) is the most critical first step in discovering and understanding how the community can apply resources to maximize retention.

Undertaking or refreshing your BRE program using ProTRACKPlus becomes easier, more efficient, and completely integrated into your economic development efforts. Furthermore, it comes with many useful tools to streamline communications, track activities, and actions, and automate reporting to your leadership. These features are vital in the development of and improvement of local and regional strategies used to support and evaluate business retention and hopefully expansions of your local companies.


In conclusion, business retention and expansion is a fundamental strategy for economic development. It’s about nurturing existing businesses, fostering growth and prosperity, and building strong, resilient communities. As a member of an economic development organization, you have a vital role to play. So, roll up your sleeves and dive into the wonderful world of BRE with ProTRACKPlus.

So, are you ready to make a difference? Call us for a no-obligation demo today.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might still have some questions about business retention and expansion, and that’s perfectly okay. Let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about BRE.

Q 1: What are the main components of a BRE program?

Ans: A BRE program typically includes a business survey, problem-solving assistance, business appreciation activities, and policy advocacy.

Q 2: How can I measure the success of a BRE program?

Ans: Success can be measured in various ways, from tracking the number of companies that threaten to leave but didn’t due to your efforts, job creation, and capital investment figures to business satisfaction surveys and anecdotal evidence of improved business climates.

Q 3: How can I start a BRE program in my community?

Ans: The first step is to gather a team of dedicated individuals who understand the importance of business retention and expansion. Then, you can start by conducting a business survey to identify needs and challenges and develop a plan to address these issues.

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