Business Retention and Expansion/Recruitment (BRE) Committee
Mission: Business retention, expansion and recruitment
The BRE Committee meets quarterly at 11:00 a.m. on the first Friday of the month at the EDC Office.
The BRE Committee has been active for many years. The EDC boards identified business support and workforce development as two of its four priorities for 2021 and created two subcommitees that meet monthly.
Priority Area and Priority Summary
Business Support—Supporting existing businesses and new business opportunities by providing awareness of and offering the EDC’s services.
The EDC continues to build rapport with existing businesses and potential new entrepreneurs by providing awareness of and access to available resources that support business health and growth.
- Continue building rapport with businesses who received support via CPR/MPR programs through one-on-one visits and streamlined assistance for challenges post-COVID.
- Continue focused support for emerging entrepreneurs and diverse businesses through technical assistance and programs such as Elevate Community Business Academy for those wanting to start a business or operate an existing business.
- Encourage business growth, expansion, and attraction opportunities utilizing Opportunity/Renaissance zones.
- Research the life cycles of businesses and the ways in which they might provide opportunities in new areas.
* Business owners that are able to streamline challenges they may have and learn from each other’s success and challenges.
Priority Area and Priority Summary
Workforce Development—Help build a skilled workforce that meets the needs of the local economy in order to grow and support businesses.
Building a base of support and implementing innovative strategies that expand opportunities for building a skilled workforce that meets the needs of our local economy and helps businesses grow.
- Research and development of data that identifies best practices for workforce training and determines Kandiyohi County’s workforce advantages/disadvantages.
- Build an Employment/Workforce Resource webpage that showcases workforce advantages in Kandiyohi County such as cost of living, and other data discovered through above research.
- Expose 200 high school students to different businesses (e.g. DI Labs, West Central Steel, etc.).
- Hold a Workforce Summit with workforce partners and businesses to explore best practices, identify true workforce challenges and work together on solutions.
These efforts will help grow and support businesses by addressing a major need in our regional economy—skilled workers. We will develop and implement innovative recruiting and training strategies that will set our region apart as a workforce development leader.
- Skill enhancement of potential labor market
- Higher levels of people gaining greater employment
- People entering pathways that lead them to careers with greater earning potential
- Helping to fulfill local job market needs
Diverse Business BRE Program
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 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.
Sam Bowen, Chairperson
Aaron Backman, Executive Director