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Efforts to retain and grow existing business in our communities is now an integral component of local and regional economic development strategies. Using SEDA’s BUSINESS COUNTS program, a focus on retaining and expanding your local and regional business base can be an ongoing process that “simply runs in the background” of your other development efforts.

Adopting a philosophy of supporting and nurturing existing business will have a direct impact on your community:

  • Helping companies improve productivity = COMPETITIVE ECONOMY
  • Isolate required skills enhancement = QUALIFIED WORKFORCE
  • Identify opportunities to bring companies together = CONNECTIVITY
  • Foster inter-firm collaboration (value chain, clusters) = SOCIAL CAPITAL
  • Build widespread support for infrastructure improvements and incentives = QUALITY OF LIFE


SEDA members have access to a Coordinators Guide to assist in the development and implementation of business retention and expansion initiatives. Additional resources include

  • A programmed EXCEL Tracking Document to enter responses to a core array of BRE Survey Questions. The data automatically tallies and produces graphs and charts.
  • PowerPoint Templates on the four key stages of a BRE initiative which can be adapted for volunteer or community meetings.

Contact the SEDA office for digital copies of these materials.

Download our fact sheet on Business Succession to support your efforts with business owners on the retirement trajectory.

‘Business Walks’ 

A “Business Walk” is a day dedicated to learning more about your local businesses through face-to-face interviews on their turf. Local leaders and key community stakeholders visit a large number of businesses with the hopes of gathering the knowledge they need to help their community and strengthen relationships. 

Our Business Walks Toolkit is now available to help you implement and report on your own Business Walks. It complements the comprehensive the aforementioned Business Counts resources and is available on request to SEDA members.

SEDA Members may contact the office at for these resources or access them from the Subscribers Area at Economic Development Online.

This two-minute video profiles the City of Vernon’s annual Business Walks initiative.

For best practices on successful BRE Programs including examples of questionnaires, final reports, and outcomes, please visit the Business Retention and Expansion section at HERE.

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