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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Community > Business Retention & Expansion > BR&E Course > Online

BR&E Online Course

Online course cost and schedule

The BR&E online course is an eight-week class. Two sections are scheduled in 2018. The cost of the course is $500. There are also community team pricing options.

What You Should Expect

The course takes 2–3 hours per week over an 8-week period. It's an asynchronous course so you can work at times convenient for your schedule but you need to stay involved on a weekly basis.

There are a few videos or readings, activities, and discussion forums each week. Highlights include a practice visit to a real business and periodic live discussions on BR&E topics. The course "capstone" project is planning your community BR&E initiative via a written paper, video, or voice recording.

Sample page from our online BRE course

Content of the Course

The following table lists course content as of December 1, 2017. This schedule is subject to change before the course begins, but general topics will remain the same.

Materials included in the course:

Weekly Topic

  • Week 1: Introducing the BR&E process
  • Week 2: Strategic considerations for your BR&E
  • Week 3: Getting your BR&E off the ground
  • Week 4: Building your team
  • Week 5: Getting going on business visits
  • Week 6: Responding to business concerns
  • Week 7: Analysis – decision-making – action!
  • Week 8: Building and sustaining credible BR&E initiatives over time

Community Team Discount

Community-led BR&E is all about teamwork, so it makes sense to send a team to this training if possible. 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. (The discount is only for groups from a town or city, county, school district, or other groups of contiguous communities.) This discount is available for either the online or the in-person version of the course.

Certification Available from Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI)

BREI is the international association that promotes and educates about BR&E. For a certification and membership fee it will provide certification to persons successfully completing a University of Minnesota BR&E course.

Questions and Registration

Note that the password requirement is fairly stringent. We suggest keeping your U.M. password written in a secure location for future reference.

For more information, contact Michael Darger at or 612-625-6246.

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