Introducing the Refreshed OMAFRA BR+E Coordinator’s Manual
The Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is an action-oriented and community-based program that aims to support local business growth and community development through identifying challenges and opportunities. The Program’s Four Stage Process helps to:
Prepare the groundwork and project team
Collect and analyze immediate concerns and opportunities
Develop goals, action plan, and data analysis
Implement the plan and track progress
The BR+E program can become a key component of a community’s ongoing economic development strategies and projects and is a great approach to strengthen businesses in your community.
Coordinator’s Manual Updates:
The BR+E Coordinator’s Manual has recently been redesigned and now features a modern layout centered on visual simplicity. The third version of the Coordinator’s Manual is designed to support communities and BR+E project coordinators. The document provides details around the Four Stage BR+E Process as well as key resources and tools to assist with the completion of the stages.
Along with the modern redesign of the BR+E Coordinator’s manual, the OMAFRA BR+E Program transitioned to a new data collection and analysis tool – QualtricsXM – as of June of 2020.
Qualtrics is a renowned data analysis and visualization platform, designed to optimize data collection, analysis and visualization. The transition to QualtricsXM has been met with positive feedback from BR+E coordinators, owing to its user-friendly interface and robust batch of features.
QualtricsXM provides efficient and functional tools to help with:
Data Analysis and Correlation
Communities undertaking BR+E initiatives with the support of OMAFRA have the option of accessing the platform at no cost for the duration of their projects.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Business Retention and Expansion program (BR+E) is a structured, four-stage approach focused on ensuring that local businesses in rural communities survive and thrive.
When communities take on a BR+E project, they take meaningful steps towards retaining and expanding businesses by getting a clear understanding of issues facing local businesses and then capitalizing on opportunities.
As part of the program, OMAFRA offers comprehensive BR+E training to:
individuals who are interested in managing or coordinating a community level Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) project.
economic development professionals who will be involved in the implementation of a BR+E project.
The results for the January 2018 – December 2018 roll up report are in! Insights from 11 BR+E projects across Ontario have been reviewed, and the key findings have been compiled in this infographic. For clients with ongoing BR+E Projects, the roll up offers a benchmark to measure the success of their own BR+E Project against the Provincial average. In comparison, clients who are interested in starting a project can use the roll up report to help identify an area of focus for their project.
The most important thing a Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) project does is build capacity. BR+E is strategically designed to take existing community resources and employ’s its community businesses to help them come together with a plan for the future. 1
A recent report from the Government of Canada studied the characteristics and performance of newly established businesses. On average, 96,000 new businesses entered the Canadian economy every year (2002-2014), representing about 9.4% (annual rate) of all Canadian firms.
This study is important for economic development officers (EDOs) undertaking business retention activities as it highlights how the Canadian economy functions, particularly the natural churn that occurs as businesses start, mature, and decline. Based on this research, EDOs should be able to determine ways to help increase the survival rates of businesses in your communities.
The results for the July 2016 – December 2017 roll up report are here! Over 1,100 businesses were surveyed across Ontario, and the key findings have been aggregated in an infographic. For clients with ongoing BR+E Projects, the roll up offers a benchmark to measure the success of their own BR+E Project against the Provincial average. In comparison, clients who are interested in starting a project can use the roll up report to help identify an area of focus for their project.
I was invited to present on Business Retention & Expansion at the recent International Economic Development Council annual conference in Toronto. The session explored common denominators for success and highlighted unique attributes of the Halifax Partnership, the Ontario and the British Columbia programs.