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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Business retention seminar set

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 23 - March 13, 1997

Industrial and economic developers and other municipal officials across the state can become certified in retaining and expanding local businesses through a conference to be held March 23-25 at Virginia Tech.

"There is no question existing businesses are a significant asset for economic developers who are trying to create jobs within their communities," said Bryan K. Rowland, manager of education and training for Virginia Tech's Economic Development Assistance Center, a unit in the university's outreach division. "Research shows most economic growth comes from existing firms, not new branch plants."

The Business Retention and Expansion Conference will train participants in the latest techniques to help local businesses survive and prosper. Topics will include organizing effective business-visitation programs (to assess business retention and expansion needs), improving workforce quality, redeveloping downtown districts, and renewing retail shopping areas. Participants will get hands-on practice in five major phases of visitation programs: training volunteers, doing firm visits, reviewing surveys, developing recommendations and reporting to the community. Part of the conference will be spent in Pulaski, where participants will practice what they are learning by conducting visits with local firms. Participants who complete the program will receive certification by Business Retention and Expansion International.

Facilitators for the conference will be Art Brown, president of Business Retention and Expansion International and director of the Georgia Tech Economic Development Administration Center; Thomas Ilvento, associate professor and extension sociologist at the University of Delaware; and George Morse, professor and extension economist at the University of Minnesota.

In addition to Virginia Tech, co-sponsors for the event include Business Retention and Expansion International, the United States Economic Development Administration, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

For more information, contact Rowland at 1-3391.