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 and in 2021 created two subcommittees to focus on business support and workforce development.

Priority Area and Priority Summary

Business Support—Supporting existing businesses and new business opportunities by providing awareness of and offering the EDC’s services.

Strategic Priority

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.


  1. Continue building rapport with businesses that received support via CPR/MPR programs through one-on-one visits and streamlined assistance for challenges post-COVID.
  2. 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.
  3. Encourage business growth, expansion and attraction opportunities utilizing Opportunity/Renaissance zones.
  4. Research the life cycles of businesses and the ways in which they might provide opportunities in new areas.

Expected Outcomes

  • Business owners who are able to streamline challenges they may have and learn from each other’s successes and challenges.
  • Our communities know and understand how the EDC can help businesses.
  • Entrepreneurs that are prepared for successful business start-ups.

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.

Strategic Priority

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.


  1. Research and development of data that identifies best practices for workforce training and determines Kandiyohi County’s workforce advantages/disadvantages.
  2. 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.
  3. Expose 200 high school students to different businesses (e.g. DI Labs, West Central Steel, etc.).
  4. Hold a Workforce Summit with workforce partners and businesses to explore best practices, identify true workforce challenges and work together on solutions.

Expected Outcomes

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

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.

Sam Bowen, Chairperson

Staff Liaison:
Aaron Backman, Executive Director

BRE Committee Minutes

Translate »