Integrating EG into Your Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program

Business Retention and Expansion are at the root of what local economic development is about and EG is the most strategic part of your Business Retention and Expansion effort. These are the companies in the US that represent about 15% of the business population but contribute a disproportionate benefit of around 40% of local job creation.

Economic Gardening (EG) is an innovative approach to economic development that focuses on fostering the growth of existing businesses within a community rather than recruiting new companies. This method aligns seamlessly with Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) programs, which aim to support and nurture local businesses to ensure their long-term success.

Here’s how Economic Gardening can enhance your BRE efforts and drive sustainable economic growth.


Economic Gardening targets Stage 2 companies—those with 10-99 employees and $1-50 million in revenue—because they are proven to be significant job creators and drivers of economic stability. Unlike traditional economic development strategies that focus on attracting new businesses (“hunting”), Economic Gardening emphasizes nurturing the growth of existing businesses (“gardening”) by providing them with strategic information and resources tailored to their unique needs.



Enhance & Complement Existing Efforts

Illustration at the NCEGEconomic Gardening enhances your current BRE efforts by providing sophisticated tools and strategic insights that help local businesses grow and thrive.

Economic Gardening complements existing BRE strategies by focusing on nurturing the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This holistic approach ensures comprehensive support for business growth.

Build an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

By fostering innovation and supporting local Stage 2 companies, Economic Gardening contributes to building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that drives long-term economic development.

Low Cost, Big ROI

Economic Gardening offers a high return on investment (ROI) with relatively low costs. The program consistently produces good outcomes at a fraction of the cost of traditional economic development strategies.

Ease of Implementation

Economic Gardening is easy to implement within your existing BRE framework. It does not require hiring new staff, making it a seamless addition to your current operations.

Solid Growth Numbers

The program is designed to achieve solid growth numbers by providing businesses with the necessary tools to identify new markets and opportunities for expansion.

Meet Job Creation Goals

Economic Gardening helps meet your job creation goals by focusing on faster growing, experienced Stage Two companies, which are historically outsized producers of jobs. This approach directly contributes to increasing employment and economic stability within your community.



Focus on Stage 2 Companies

Stage 2 companies represent about 15% of the business population but contribute to approximately 40% of job creation. These companies are typically past the survival stage and are looking to scale their operations, making them ideal candidates for BRE programs that aim to foster local economic growth.

Uses Strategic Information and Tools

Economic Gardening provides companies with advanced tools such as GIS mapping, market research, and competitive intelligence. These resources help businesses identify new market opportunities, understand industry trends, and develop effective growth strategies.

Incorporate Market and Sales Strategy

Economic Gardening shifts the focus from traditional sales methods to identifying and targeting volatile markets where there is a higher probability of successful sales. This approach involves using data to spot opportunities where companies are actively seeking solutions, thereby increasing the chances of closing deals.

Community and Economic Impact

By focusing on local businesses, Economic Gardening ensures that wealth generated within the community stays in the community. This reduces economic leakage and promotes a cycle of reinvestment that benefits the local economy. Supporting local businesses also enhances the standard of living and sustains essential public services.


Identify Target Companies

Focus on Stage 2 companies within your community that have growth potential. These businesses should already have proven market and management capabilities but need support to scale further. EG can provide a working list of companies in your city, region, or state to support the team.

Leverage Data and Technology

Utilize advanced data analytics, GIS mapping, and market research to provide businesses with insights into new markets, customer segments, and competitive landscapes. This strategic information is crucial for informed decision-making and identifying growth opportunities.

Foster Innovation

Encourage companies to innovate by providing them with the tools and frameworks to develop new products and services. Innovation leads to higher profit margins and creates a competitive edge in the market, which is essential for long-term growth and sustainability.

Monitor and Support

Continuously monitor the progress of businesses in your BRE program and offer ongoing support. This can include mentoring, access to networks, and facilitating connections with potential partners and investors.

Affordable, Easy to Ramp Up

The NCEG maintains a team of professionals with deep expertise in multiple areas of business research. Market Researchers, Geospatial Information, Digital Marketers, and AI-informed Researchers are on the National Strategic Resources Team (NSRT) already. EDC’s contract with the NCEG and the NSRT is on the job, working with your local businesses.

Ask about how you can run a set of companies through the program to see the impact. Data suggests you will be pleasantly surprised.

Economic Gardening is a powerful complement to traditional Business Retention and Expansion programs. By focusing on nurturing the growth of existing businesses, providing them with strategic resources, and fostering innovation, Economic Gardening helps create a robust and resilient local economy. Implementing this approach within your Business Retention and Expansion program can lead to sustainable economic growth, job creation, and an enhanced quality of life for your community.