The INSIGHT Program: Part 1 - the purpose

Image removed.The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) is getting ready to work with a variety of key collaborators to launch its INSIGHT Retention & Expansion Program for Seneca County, Ohio. It seemed appropriate then to explain this program and how it works. This post is Part I and explains what Business Retention & Expansion is and talks about the INSIGHT approach in general. Part II explains the questions that make up the approach and how they are to be applied. Part III explains the details about how the program will be conducted and operate. What is Retention & Expansion? [caption id="attachment_1410" align="alignright" width="300"]Image removed. Logo from Oxford Ontario BR&E Program[/caption] Simply put, Retention & Expansion is both an area of economic development activity as well as a type of economic development effort. As economic development is most focused job creation and retention, there are three primary ways or types of activity that produces new jobs for an economy:
  1. Attraction - existing companies with no operations in the community establish a new location in it
  2. Retention & Expansion - existing companies with operations in the community expand their operations
  3. Entrepreneurship - new businesses start up, thereby creating new jobs
Retention & Expansion efforts, also known as Business Retention & Expansion or BR&E typically involve reaching out to and gathering information from businesses via a survey, a visit, or a combination of the two, and then seeking to assist them based on that information. Why is Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) important? Image removed.Although often attraction or high-tech entrepreneurship get more headlines, all the experts agree that existing businesses are largely responsible for the majority of job creation and investment in a community. There is also substantial evidence to suggest that small businesses are also the major contributors.
  • Birch (Job Creation in America, 1987) - 80% of net new job growth from existing businesses
  • Kraybill (Retention First, Ohio's Challenge, 1995) - 70% of Ohio's job growth from existing business
  • SBA (US Small Business Administration, 2014) - 60% of new jobs from existing businesses
  • Annapolis Institute (looking at new Birch data) - 55% existing, 45% new businesses (entrepreneurship), 1% attraction
The Annapolis Institute sums it up: "Punchline: Job growth happens when leaders create a good business climate for homegrown, locally owned enterprises."  Not only do they create more jobs, they make the majority of investment and serve as ambassadors for attraction and entrepreneurship.  
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