What’s in a name? Changing the face of BRE

By Ryan Kelly –

During a BREI board meeting today, there was an interesting conversation that began regarding the use of the term “BRE.”  There is a trend with many economic development organizations and chambers that use business retention and expansion models, but they are increasingly moving away from the term “BRE.”

So we must ask the question that begins the foundation of what we do, “What is BRE?” Lorraine Boyd of the Province of Nova Scotia put it well.

BRE is one tool in the economic development tool box.   It along with other activities are used to engage with business communities in identifying and addressing situations in their area.  (Lorraine Boyd, BREP)

BRE is a tool in the toolbox of economic development organizations.  This tool helps to grow local businesses and reinforce communities.  It leverages relationships and local resources for maximum impact.

So, does changing the name of a program change what it is?  As William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Boyd commented that new names are given to BRE activities such as BusinessNow and SmartBusiness.

No matter what name is given to a BRE program, it is essential that it follows the core components of BRE training and that it brings partners to the table to share in the burdens and successes of economic development.

BRE is a proven strategy for growing and retaining local businesses.  Let’s capitalize on the efforts and brand it how we need to market the program to the community.

Last Chance to Register for BREI’s Upcoming Fundamentals Course – Web Based Training


September 19-28, 2017

The Fundamentals Course in BREI’s training for economic developers and community professionals for basic business retention and expansion skills.  This course is focused on the volunteer visitor model, which is pertinent especially for small economic development organizations where volunteers are needed to assist with business surveys.  

The tools and skills obtained in this workshop will allow communities to better meet the needs of its local businesses.  Successful completion of the course will allow one to obtain the BRE Coordinator certification.


Hartnell College – Industrial Refrigeration: Fundamentals & Introduction to Systems

A new training program is underway at Hartnell College East Campus — Industrial Refrigeration: Fundamentals of Refrigeration and Introduction to Refrigeration Systems. The program provides an introduction to industrial refrigeration using the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA) Industrial Refrigeration Course 1 manual. When mature, the program plans to include a full array of skill topics to address the needs of the region’s employers: (1) Packaging / Production, (2) Technician, (3) Maintenance Mechanic, (4) Facility Refrigeration Technology, and (5) Management. The program, in part, grew out of a need expressed for refrigeration engineer and technicians to replace retiring staff, by industry leaders who participated in a Salinas Valley targeted business retention/expansion survey.

View full article


BREI 2017 Awards Announced

Greater Edmonton Economic Development Team

Business Retention & Expansion International is pleased to congratulate its 2017 award winners for excellent in BRE and economic development impact in their respective communities.

Outstanding Single Community
With a Population 20,000-50,000
City of Spruce Grove
Project: The Sweet Life Found

Outstanding Single Community
With a Population 50,000-100,000
San Antonio Economic
Development Foundation
Project: CaptureRX Expansion

Outstanding Multi Community
With a Population Over 100,000
City of Edmonton
Project: The Cornerstore Program

Creating Significant Change
City of Edmonton
Project: The Cornerstore Program

BRE Professional Recognition
Lorraine Boyd, BREP, Province of Nova Scotia

A webinar on the Impact Award winner, The Cornerstore Program, will take place soon so that all BREI members may learn about this excellent business support program in Edmonton.

It’s All About Community

By Ryan Kelly –

Roger Brooks, keynote speaker

“It’s all about relationships,” quotes Peter Kenyon, speaker at the 2017 BREI Annual Conference in Edmonton.  Kenyon detailed tremendous efforts of entrepreneurs in Australia that do not treat community as a client, rather a place where they are.

The conference featured fantastic speakers, including but not limited to international speaker Roger Brooks, CEO of RB International, and Clinton Senkow, COO of Influensive.

Brooks gave multiple case studies on businesses that think outside of the box and market themselves ‘differently’ than those around them.  Communities must showcase what separates them from other locals.  The adage “A Great Place to Live, Work, and Play” is overused and does nothing to sell a community.  Rather, brand yourself in a unique way in order to truly attract and retain business and citizens.

Senkow focused on millennial entrepreneurs and what drives them to a community.   He stated that millennials focus on environments that cater to business needs and environment as well as a place that is fun and inviting.

The conferenced ended with a keynote presentation by Doug Griffiths.  Author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, Doug takes community building and works backwards from a failing community and what caused it to occur.  These include 1) forget the water quality and quantity; 2) don’t attract businesses; 3) don’t engage youth; 4) deceive yourself; 5) shop elsewhere; 6) don’t paint; 7) don’t cooperate; 8) live in the past; 9) shut out your seniors; 10) reject everything new; 11) ignore outsiders; 12) grow complacent; 13) don’t take responsibility.

If you had to sum up the overall theme, it is community.  How can your community adapt and evolve to be unique, inviting, and a pro-business environment?  How can you revitalize your downtown core and create a multiplier effect with walking traffic?  How can you think differently and market your community more effectively?  This and more highlighted the excellent educational opportunities offered by BREI this year in Edmonton.

If you missed it, we are planning to have several of the speakers and attendees produce webinars throughout the next year on their presentations that will be available to all BREI members at no charge.