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Business Retention and Expansion

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The Business Retention and Expansion process is a part of a comprehensive economic development plan and supports keeping businesses open and thriving.

What is business retention and expansion?

Business retention and expansion is a key component of any economic development plan. This strategy involves proactively connecting with existing businesses in a community to understand and respond to their business needs.

Business retention and expansion process developed from informal efforts in the 1960-1970s to the more organized and structured efforts used today. Traditionally it involves a series of in-person, individual interviews over a two to three month timeframe with business owners in a community around a set list of questions. The survey is designed to assist in developing community strategies that benefit the business community as a whole. At its core, this process is designed to build up existing local businesses and support them in their expansion efforts.

Community volunteers are involved in the entire process to support community engagement and buy-in. Ideally it is a continuous process, where businesses can expect a business retention and expansion visit on an annual or biennial basis. 

To learn more about this process, watch this comprehensive video from Benalla, Australia about their business retention and expansion process.

                           

Learn more about Business Retention and Expansion

If you are interested in conducting a business retention and expansion process in your community or want to share your community's success, contact Julianne Dunn, Instructor - Economic Development, through email at jbdunn@uaex.edu or by phone at 501-671-2158. 

Many Arkansas organizations undertake a version of business retention and expansion. Before embarking on this process in your community, we encourage you to check with the following organizations to learn what has already been done.

Past Events

  • April 23-24, 2019, Fort Smith, Business Retention and Expansion Workshop
    • Developed in partnership with Western Arkansas Planning and Development District, Mississippi State Extension, and Business Retention and Expansion International. 

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