Business Retention & Revitalization for Vermilion River Region

November 10


Lakeland College and the Vermilion River Regional Alliace have teamed up to help local businesses stay in the black -- thanks to a pilot project initated in 2010 by Mount Royal University. Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) is a process widely used to identify issues and strengths for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It is a community-based economic development tool that promotes job growth by helping communities identify barriers to survival and growth, and then develop strategies to address the challenges and build upon their competencies. Since rural businesses are fundamental to the economic success of rural communities, BR&E projects are intended to engage and educate the community and local business members, and ultimately promote job growth. The long-term engagement created by the project will enable local business members to improve their skills, re-enforce and grow effective networks, and improve communication with their community partners. The data collected from the survey and workshops are also key for academic institutions to plan curriculum, support agencies to direct their services and governments for policy development. Lakeland College will be in the Vermilion River Region over the next 4- 6 weeks interviewing and surveying businesses to collect pertinent data for the study. Businesses will be asked about their challenges, barriers, skills and issues. After the data is collected and analyzed, the researchers will meet with the participants and municipal leaders to share the results, and conduct workshops to educate and strategize with business owners and essentially move our economic agenda forward. If you have any questions about the study, please contact Wendy Plandowski, Dean of Academic Services & Community Relations at Lakeland College (780-871-5403 /