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BR&E Course

Business retention and expansion in your community
New course offers in-person, online training in BR&E strategies

The Business Retention and Expansion in Your Community course for 2014 is now closed. However, the course will be offered again beginning in January 2015. Please refer back to this webpage for details about the 2015 course

A healthy, vibrant local economy depends largely on the strength of existing businesses. Community leaders can help local businesses survive and grow. But how do you do that?

University of Minnesota Extension has taught business retention and expansion strategies to communities since 1996. Now, a redesigned course about the fundamentals of BR&E is available in a convenient blended format that combines in-person with online learning. The course is designed for economic and community development professionals, community leaders and others who want to conduct a community-led BR&E effort. The first offering of the course in 2013 trained 20 participants, The program received strong evaluations and resulted in BR&E programs in several communities. (See below.)

What happens when you take the community-based approach? Read what happened in Marshall, MN.

This project was funded in part by the Initiative Foundation, a regional foundation.

The 2013 course was sponsored by: Economic Development Association of Minnesota, West Central Initiative, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and Grow Minnesota!.

Results from 2013 Course (as of November 2013)
BR&E initiatives were implemented by participants in the 2013 BR&E Course.

Course cost and schedule
The 2014 course will begin with the initial face-to-face session January 21-22, 2014 in the Twin Cities. The training will precede the EDAM (Economic Development Association of Minnesota) Winter Conference scheduled January 23-24. Six online modules will be conducted in the months following, and we will wrap things up on March 25. View Syllabus (PDF).

Cost of the course is $400 until the early bird cutoff on December 20, 2013. After December 20th it is $500. Registration deadline is Friday, January 10th, 2014. For more information, contact Michael Darger at or 612-625-6246.

Community Team Discount
Community-led BR&E is all about teamwork. Therefore, it makes sense to send a team to this training if you're able. To encourage this, we offer discounts for team attendance: a community team of two can register together for $750, and a community team of three to five individuals can register together for $1,000. This will save you money, and you're much more likely to get an actual BR&E initiative going back home if a team works together in the course. The discount is only for groups from a town or city, county, school district, or other groups of contiguous communities.

Questions and Registration
Watch this web page for updates. For more detailed information on the course please see this BR&E Course Info Sheet.

View course testimonials.

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