Has a company recently closed or downsized?
Does your downtown district have vacant buildings?
Has unemployment increased?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, perhaps it’s time for your community to conduct a Business Retention and Expansion survey.
A Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) survey is a structured, locally implemented, action oriented economic development project aimed at stimulating economic development and growth by helping existing businesses. Research has shown that 60-80% of all new jobs come from existing businesses. Communities should review the checklist below to determine if it is time to conduct a BR&E. Note: there is no correct score to determine if it is time for BR&E; rather, communities should have conversations pertaining to these items. That will let them know if it is time to conduct a BR&E survey.
- Has your community ever conducted a BR&E? If yes, when was the last time?
- Does your community have a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy?
- Has there been a change in elected officials/appointed officials?
- Will the legislative body support a BR&E?
- Has the financial condition of the community changed (high unemployment, many business cures)?
- Do community officials have a working relationship with the top ten employers in the community?
- Have businesses closed and no one is sure why?
- Is there a local economic development agency that could help with the BR&E?
- Are new business sectors moving into the community?
- Has the State of Ohio created new Economic Development Tools?
- Are new business technologies being maximized?
- Has your zoning code had major modifications?
- Have there been major changes in adjacent communities (business, farmland, unemployment)?
- Has the social status of your community changed?
- Have business transportation needs changed?
- Does the community have sufficient open space for Economic Development?
After you review and discuss the list above, you can contact Ohio State University Extension, Community Development to learn more about the Business Retention and Expansion Program. Visit us at go.osu.edu/BRnE.
(Submitted by David Civittolo, Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)