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Business Retention & Expansion School


$50 Enroll

Full course description

A healthy and vibrant local economy depends on the well-being of local businesses. Local business health can be fostered via a community-led Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program. A BRE program involves a dialogue with local businesses to better understand their issues and concerns. Such efforts can show the community’s appreciation for business contributions and enable local leadership to identify economic development strategies informed by local business as well as inform the community at large about individual and community-wide business concerns. Perhaps most importantly, however, a BRE program facilitates improved relationships among local development organizations and business leaders. This collaboration can lead to more effective communications and long-term working partnerships resulting in more cooperative community policy and decision-making. 

This online self-paced course is designed to provide elected and appointed officials, economic development professionals, chambers of commerce, community stakeholders, non-profit organizations, extension educators, and other interested individuals an overview and understanding of local Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) programs.

This self-paced course includes the following 9 modules:

  1. What is Business Retention and Expansion (BRE)?
  2. Coordinator and Task Force Roles and Responsibilities
  3. The BRE Process and Timeline
  4. Conducting Surveys
  5. Business Visits
  6. Survey Review Data Entry, and Follow-Up
  7. Action Planning and Program Assessment
  8. Community Communications
  9. Get Started

Modules are expected to take approximately 10-30 minutes to complete and include text, images, video content, knowledge checks, and short brainstorming assignments.

After completing all of the course modules, participants will schedule a 1:1 consultation with one of our course instructors to discuss how we can help you implement a Business Retention and Expansion program in your community.

Enrollment for the first iteration of this course will be available through December 31st, 2024.

There are NO refunds issued for this course.

If you have questions about the course, contactJoe Lucente at

First Time ScarletCanvas Users: After you enroll, you will receive two automated emails, one with the subject "Please confirm your email address - Ohio State ScarletCanvas." Use the link in that email to set up the password you would like to use for your account. 

For technical assistance with the ScarletCanvas platform, including logging in and password concerns, please contact CFAES Online Outreach team at Please allow at least 24 hours for a reply during business hours, 72 hours over holidays and weekends. 

To request a credit card receipt please fill out the ScarletCanvas receipt request form within 30 days of purchase and allow 3 business days for your request to be processed.