Business Retention + Expansion: a successful 4-stage community approach

BR+E four stage process
New BR+E four stage process

The Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) program is a structured action oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. The BR+E process helps communities to prioritize their efforts in supporting their existing businesses.

The Regional Economic Development Branch recently completed a comprehensive review and update to the BR+E program. One of the aspects of the review was to update the four stage BR+E process, which includes: Stage I – preparation; Stage II – collect and analyz; Stage III – develop goals and action plans, and; Stage IV – implement and monitor.

These four stages are divided into 12 steps that a community moves through in order to complete the BR+E process.

Stage I – Preparation

Preparation is critical to the success of a BR+E project. The steps in this stage include assessing community readiness, forming the leadership team, hiring or identifying a Coordinator to manage all activities, developing the project focus and work plan, recruiting and training volunteers and publicly launching the project.

Stage II – Collect and Analyze

The steps in this stage include conducting structured business interviews using the BR+E survey, addressing immediate business issues and opportunities identified, and generating a preliminary analysis of the data collected.

Stage III – Develop Goals and Action Plans

Develop Goals and Action Plans moves the project from focusing on individual businesses to making decisions about how to strategically support businesses in the community. The steps in this stage include hosting a BR+E planning retreat to identify key findings from the survey and develop goals and action plans to address the results. This stage also includes preparing the final report and action plan, and communicating the results to the public and business community.

Stage IV – Implement and Monitor

The steps in this stage include implementing the action plans and selecting performance measures to monitor and track progress and positive impacts that have occurred in the community related to the BR+E project.

This is the second is a series of posts regarding the updated Business Retention and Expansion program and the new Coordinator’s manual.  For more information on the BR+E program or to download a copy of the new BR+E Coordinator’s Manual visit


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