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University of Minnesota Extension

Business retention and expansion: online course

Event information



Online course


Michael Darger, University of Minnesota Extension
Business retention and expansion program lead
darger@umn.edu or 612-625-6246

This course features a community economic development business retention and expansion (BRE) model. This approach includes three key steps and broad-based community involvement that allows both volunteers and professionals to connect with businesses.

In addition, the course infuses discussion and content on professional, continuous BRE visitation approaches — examining the relationship and differences between continuous BRE methods and the community economic development approach. You will learn how different BRE approaches can be valuable for your economic development situation.

The course:

  • Takes two to four hours per week during an eight-week period. You can work at times convenient for your schedule. Staying involved on a weekly basis, however, optimizes your experience.
  • Includes weekly videos/readings, activities and discussion forums. Occasional live discussions feature various topics.
  • Helps you create a plan for your community or region’s new BRE initiative or to improve your existing program.

The course is designed for economic and community development professionals and stakeholders, community leaders and others who want to conduct a community-led BRE effort.

Costs and discounts

  • Individual (per person): $600
  • Community members/teams*:
    • 2 person team: $900
    • 3–5 person team: $1,200
  • Full-time student: $110 — email your transcript to Michael Darger prior to registering

*Community-led BRE is all about teamwork, so we encourage teams to attend training together. We offer team discounts for groups from a town or city, county, school district, or other groups of contiguous communities. It is available for either the online or in-person course.


The registration deadline is Friday, July 30, 2021.

Find more information about our business retention and expansion course.


Everyone who completes the course:

  • Receives a certificate of accomplishment from  University of Minnesota Extension.
  • Meets a course requirement to receive a Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI) certification and one-year membership for $75. BREI is an international association that promotes and educates about BRE.
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