Anatomy of our Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Program

Anatomy of our Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Program (how we support primary-sector company success)

Supporting the Success of 400+ Primary-Sector Companies

Growing our regional economy starts with meaningful connections to support the 400 primary-sector companies within Cass and Clay County. This is a core strategy the GFMEDC done through our Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Program.  Our organization uses BRE surveys to collect vital information from businesses including opportunities for expansion, challenges or barriers to growth, and evaluation of and input on community resources and amenities.

Primary-sector businesses can participate either through an in-person visit or by completing a quick online survey. The GFMEDC uses the responses to prioritize direct support for the business in the short-term, while collecting long-term aggregate data that provides useful insight into the region’s economic trends tracking that against other markets and national trends.

Communication that Supports Business Success

BRE surveys are a simple and helpful guide to a conversations on the health of a business. From their greatest achievement to expansion plans, including expanding the facility footprint through a build or move, making investments into manufacturing equipment, or adding jobs.

Businesses have an opportunity to talk about the local community including its strengths and any challenges that may be inhibiting their growth. We then unpack the workforce subject – both from the business’ perspectives on the availability, stability, affordability and productivity of the regional workforce as well as any recruitment problems they may be experiencing. Finally, we ask the business leader to rate services like utility providers, resources, public services, and community amenities. 

A Penny (or $25) for Your Thoughts

The final component of the survey is selecting one of six local non-profit charities. The GFMEDC will make a $25 donation to thank the business for sharing their time. Understanding that a higher rate of feedback means more donations, the GFMEDC has now donated more than $3,000 since 2021 to the United Way of Cass-Clay, Homeward Animal Shelter, Ronald McDonald House, Roger Maris Cancer Center, Great Plains Food Bank and F5 Project.

Last year, our team competed projects with 28 primary-sector companies, resulting in $476 million in capital investments, 253 projected new jobs, and 510,000 square in facility expansion – many of these resulting from relationships developed through the BRE program.

“The EDC’s Business Retention & Expansion program is one of the easiest ways for businesses to stay plugged-in to the information, resources, and programs that help businesses like SpaceAge Synthetics,” said John Hertsgaard, President & CEO of SpaceAge Synthetics. “We are grateful for the partnership of the EDC in collaborating on multiple successful projects, saving our organization significant costs through incentives and financing programs. Often this starts with a simple survey or 30-minute annual meeting with the EDC team.”

What the data tells us

What does the BRE data tell us about our community? Of the 64 companies surveyed in 2022, 81% of companies indicated they have plans for expansion in the next one to two years compared to 41% nationally, highlighting our region’s resilience to economic stagnation experienced in other parts of the nation. Our region’s utility infrastructure (water, sewer, natural gas, electric, telecom, cellular service, internet speed and access) is more favorable when compared to the national utility infrastructure. And 60% of primary-sector companies are experiencing recruitment issues – emphasizing the critical role the GFMEDC plays in working with local and state partners on workforce development projects.

Our collaborative work with businesses through our BRE program has enabled businesses to find incredible cost-savings, allowing them to reinvest into their business and expand our regional workforce.

If you are a primary-sector company in Cass or Clay County, you can complete the online BRE survey.

Want to schedule an in-person BRE visit? Contact Joey Ness at jness@fmedc.com or (701) 364-1922.

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