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Community Based Business Retention and Expansion Programs

A CEDAS Academy Webinar

June 1, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.



In the Spanish world, "tapas " are small, flavorful dishes eaten with others to encourage conversation and sharing. The "tapas" webinar series takes a broad look at foundational economic development strategies and serves up several community based examples in a "small plate" format. This means you'll hear a summary of what’s worked, and what hasn't and pickup ideas to try out in your community straight from other leaders and local professionals.

CEDAS Academy-ED Strategy Series is a web-based educational learning series developed by UConn Extension in collaboration with the Connecticut Economic Development Association and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Join us for this series to:

  • Learn about timely, relevant economic development issues and strategies; 
  • Get a taste of best practices and community successes from other practitioners and community leaders; and
  • Access local resources relevant to your community.



Community Based Business Retention and Expansion Programs

Business retention and expansion is considered one of the foundations of a good economic development program but often gets limited attention when resources are scarce. Some communities are engaging the power of the broader community to visit many businesses and to implement a Business Retention & Expansion action plan on systemic issues.  Learn how and why this might be an opportunity for your community! Join us for this webinar to learn:


  • Key elements & methods of effective Community-Driven BRE programs 
  • Strategies for small rural, urban, suburban communities to support existing businesses
  • Resources and courses to learn more about BRE 




This is a free webinar co-sponsored by the Connecticut Economic Development Association and UConn and will be promoted as part of the “CEDAS Academy” Economic Strategy Series.  The audience will be economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, planners, community development professionals, and community leaders.




About Our Presenter

Michael Darger, Community Economics Specialist, University of Minnesota

Michael Darger, community economics specialist, has served as director of the University of Minnesota Extension’s Business Retention and Expansion Strategies Program since 1999.  He served as Community Economics Program Leader for U.M. Extension, 2003-2010.  Previously he served in economic development positions in the Phillips Community Development Corporation in Minneapolis, University UNITED along University Avenue in St. Paul and in Sherburne County, Minnesota.  Michael has helped lead business outreach programs in many places including award-winning programs in Minnesota and Saskatchewan.  He teaches an online course on Business Retention and Expansion that is designed for economic development professionals and their key allies.

He is leading the development of a special BR&E issue of Community Development, the Journal of the Community Development Society.  It will be the first ever academic journal devoted exclusively to the role that business retention and expansion plays in the field of economic development.  The special issue will be published in 2017.    Michael served as president of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) and on the board of Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI).  He holds an MBA from the University of Michigan. 


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