Minding our Own Business(es)
Business Retention & Expansion Program (BRE) aims to support companies’ success
Every day, we work to get in front of the CEO’s and executives of our primary-sector companies to ask questions, offer assistance and make connections.
We do that for two reasons: to ensure companies understand the many options accessible to support them and to maintain a pulse on the regional market. Understanding the needs and opportunities facing our companies and their industries helps us direct resources and advocate for policies that support companies and strengthen the regional business climate.
In 2021, we conducted 114 BRE visits in person and online and learned quite a bit about our market. Add that to the hundreds of phone calls and non-survey related conversations, and we can provide one of the widest and deepest economic pictures of the Fargo Moorhead MSA (Cass ND and Clay, Minn. Counties).
For example, in the summer of 2021, our data was used to inform the Minnesota Federal Reserve Board of the economic conditions in the Fargo MSA, as the work of our organization has become a critical source of timely information used by other local, regional and national entities.
Laying the Groundwork for Success
Not everything we do at the EDC has an immediate success story attached nor can it be measured by traditional metrics. More often, it’s a connection or support to resolve an issue or an answer to a question. We call them assists. Our assists may support a project or push a company in the right direction. Over time, a collection of assists can lead to growth or expansion.
Outreach to 69 companies resulted in 106 tracked issues in 2021, and more than 300 successfully assisted issues since 2019.
Here are a couple examples from just this past year:
Elinor Coatings (an advanced materials and coatings technology company), we connected the company to ND’s LIFT program and a $750,000 award to support their work.
Bytespeed, we supported the company’s potential growth by connecting them to partners who specialize in defense contracting and ag tech ecosystems.
Other companies have struggled with access to capital, and our organization connected them to several private investment firms. Additionally, our organization has helped companies with workforce challenges, introducing them to local resources or providing data to support recruitment efforts.
Often, our strategic visits reveal expansion plans. Just in 2021, our visits uncovered twelve potential projects, with the results being seven completed expansions that have resulted in more than $12 Million in capital investment, 71 new jobs and 142,000 additional square feet added to our regional economy.