Each of us plays a variety of roles in the local economy. We are both producers and consumers, and the relationships are many and ever-changing. Understanding our local and regional economies can be challenging, but a Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) program can help.
Since its inception at OSU in the mid-80’s, the Ohio BR&E program has spread throughout the U.S. and the world as a core economic development strategy. Program curriculum has been delivered or shared as far away as Guam, Macedonia and Ukraine; and most recently in New York, South Dakota and Florida.
Extension CD faculty Nancy Bowen, David Civittolo and Joe Lucente took it on the road again, this time to Indiana, delivering a two-day train-the-trainer program at Purdue University on January 22-23. Seventeen new regional CD Specialists and Educators from throughout Indiana learned the nuts and bolts of the BR&E curriculum and new “Targeted BR&E” program. This training effort and resulting community programs in Indiana are being supported by a North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) “Interstate” grant of $5,000.
As part of the “Interstate Grant”, Purdue will be delivering Ohio’s BR&E curriculum as part of a new program being launched in collaboration with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, titled the Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI). Five communities will be selected to be part of the HCI effort in 2015, with the BR&E program being a major component.
Since 1990, the Ohio BR&E program has been delivered in 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties and 155 communities; helping local officials and residents learn what can be done to help existing businesses and informing better decisions. The Ohio BR&E Program website, including BR&E materials, can be found at: go.osu.edu/BRnE.
(Submitted by Nancy Bowen, Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics; David Civittolo, Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics; and Joe Lucente, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant Program)