Business Retention and Expansion/Recruitment (BRE) Committee

Mission: Business retention, expansion and recruitment

The BRE Committee meets quarterly at 1:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of March, June, September and December at the EDC Office.

The BRE Committee has been active for many years and in 2021 created two subcommittees to focus on business support and workforce development.

Priority Area and Priority Summary

Business and Industry Development—The EDC will support existing businesses and industries and foster the growth of new opportunities through awareness, technical support and access to funding.

2023-2026 Strategic Objectives

  • Business Outreach: Intentional outreach to businesses across Kandiyohi County to identify countywide needs/opportunities, provide awareness of EDC and partner services and support, and share their successes.
  • Finance and Technical Assistance: Leverage, market, and align the financial resources, loan programs, technical assistance, and community development programs needed to support economic and business growth.
  • Entrepreneurship: Provide focused support for emerging entrepreneurs and those seeking to operate an existing business through technical assistance and programs, such as Elevate Community Business Academy.
  • Agriculture: Sustain, identify and develop agriculture, agribusiness, and renewable energy opportunities through collaborative support of education, awareness, and advocacy efforts that leverage Kandiyohi County’s agriculture assets and recruit value-added markets to the county.

VISION OF IMPACT: Kandiyohi County businesses and industries prosper, innovate and are competitive in today’s global economy. Our communities recognize and value the important role of its business and industry sectors and understand how the EDC supports their advancement.

2023-2024 Tactics

  1. Continued outreach in Kandiyohi County leads to supporting at least three businesses that have not utilized EDC technical assistance and/or lending services in the past.
  2. Expanded outreach increases the total amount of loan funds provided to support the growth/expansion of Kandiyohi County businesses.
  3. Enhance and expand the Elevate Community Business Academy by designing the program to also accommodate Somalian entrepreneurs and by increasing the number of participants.
  4. Work with agricultural organizations to host and/or support informational session(s) regarding Minnesota’s climate legislation/plans.

2023-2024 Projected Outcomes

  • At least five businesses that have not utilized EDC technical assistance and/or lending services in the past, are supported through technical assistance and/or loan funds.
  • The total amount of loan funds distributed by the end of 2023 increases by at least 10% over the previous year.
  • Elevate program increases the total number of program students by at least 25% and works to accommodate Somalian entrepreneurs in 2024.
  • Informational session(s) inform at least 200 individuals from organizations across the county/region.

Priority Area and Priority Summary

Workforce Development—The EDC will catalyze and support innovative strategies to build a skilled workforce that meets the needs of our local economy and helps individuals reach their full potential through career awareness, training and development.

2023-2026 Strategic Objectives

  • Education and Training: Support and promote opportunities for individuals to reach their full potential through career awareness, training and development.
    • Promote Ridgewater College as an employer, as well as educational partner to area businesses, students and workers.
    • Expand existing and establish new opportunities to educate/train Kandiyohi County’s diverse workforce.
    • Support Kandiyohi County school programs that expose students to local careers.
  • Business and Community Engagement: Work with area businesses and community partners to identify and address workforce needs and promote area employment opportunities.
    • Host a bi-annual Workforce Summit to explore best practices, identify workforce challenges, and work together on solutions.
    • Help connect business and education partners seeking to expose students to and prepare them for local career opportunities.
  • Talent Attraction: Guide collaborative efforts to promote the quality of life and build positive campaigns that attract workers to Kandiyohi County.
    • Expand awareness of local careers through job fairs, social media, and other marketing strategies that showcase the advantages of working/living in Kandiyohi County.

VISION OF IMPACT: The EDC will support business retention and growth by addressing the need for skilled workers through innovative recruitment and training strategies that establish Kandiyohi County as a workforce development leader.

2023-2024 Tactics

  1. Expand awareness of local careers by supporting at least two job fairs and highlighting workforce opportunities on the EDC website.
  2. Work with schools and businesses to expose at least 200 high school students to various businesses and industries in Kandiyohi County.
  3. Build an employment/workforce resource web page that showcases the workforce advantages in the county (i.e. cost of living; amenities).
  4. Work with area businesses and supporting organizations to develop strategies for retaining, recruiting and/or planning for the succession of leaders.

2023-2024 Projected Outcomes

  • At least 100 individuals and 40 businesses participate in virtual and in-person job fairs.
  • At least 200 high school students indicate that they are more aware of career/work opportunities in Kandiyohi County.
  • A new web page is underway to showcase workforce advantages of Kandiyohi County.
  • At least one collaborative discussion takes place regarding opportunities to assist businesses with employee recruitment, retention or succession.

BRE Surveys

In 2017, the EDC received a grant from Southwest Initiative Foundation to design and implement a BRE program for diverse businesses in the Willmar area. Read the results of the survey here 2017 Final Report for Diverse BRE Program in Willmar.

In 2015, in partnership with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the EDC surveyed 60 service businesses and 22 manufacturing businesses in Kandiyohi County. Click here to read the findings and projects identified. Click here to read the Workshop and SWOT Analysis Priorities and Projects.

Jim Ellingson, Chairperson
Sam Bowen, Vice Chairperson

Staff Liaison:
Aaron Backman, Executive Director

BRE Committee Minutes

Translate »