Attraction of new businesses is a highly visible activity in most community economic development programs. Yet research has shown that a community’s existing businesses account for up to 70% of all net change in local employment, and up to 86% in rural areas. This, among other reasons, is why the retention and expansion of existing businesses has become an essential activity of many local and regional economic development programs.
Recognizing the importance of local marinas, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management in conjunction with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program established a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Program to assist these companies in achieving their growth objectives and to improve the overall business environment of Ohio’s Lake Erie Marina Industry.
The program aims to:
- Identify and address concerns and issues of existing businesses by creating a value-chain of partners, including local and state government as well as private organizations and enterprises
- Identify opportunities to stimulate local job growth
- Establish and maintain long-term relationships among public and private entities associated in some way with Ohio’s Lake Erie marina industry
(Submitted by Joe Lucente, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant College Program)