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Training Course: Business Retention and Expansion

Date: October 18 - 19, 2018

Location: Toronto, ON

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This course is held in partnership with Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO).


This interactive course presents the core components of a BRE program and why the concerns of local businesses need to be actively addressed. By building an understanding of business visitation techniques and survey methods, practitioners will be able to clearly gauge their community's business climate. Learn the "red flags" that may indicate a company is looking to move elsewhere, and learn how to structure an effective technical assistance program to respond to business concerns. This course helps participants understand how a BRE program relates to attraction, workforce development, small business finance, technology transfer and many other economic development activities.


Course Highlights:

• Establishing, maintaining and upgrading a BRE program
• Creating effective models for business visitations and surveys
• Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) techniques
• Marketing a BRE program
• Establishing an early warning system
• Cluster and industry-focused BRE programs
• Tracking and analyzing customer feedback and response
• Quantitative and qualitative economic development metrics



October 18

8:30 - 9:00 am


9:00 - 9:15 am

Speaker introductions and session framework
Speaker introductions and a brief discussion of course objectives, desired outcomes and methodology.

9:15 - 10:30 am

Main Group Exercise - Anytown, Anywhere
This dynamic exercise will provide the underpinning and set the framework for the topics covered over the next two days.

10:30 - 10:45 am


10:45 - 11:30 am

Global factors and trends that impact business retention and expansion policies, programs, strategies and desired outcomes
In this session, attendees will learn about and discuss post-recession global realities and how they have fundamentally changed the private sector, economic development and business retention and expansion.

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Lunch on your own

1:00 - 1:30 pm

Global factors and trends that impact upon business retention and expansion policies, programs, strategies and desired outcomes (continued)

1:30 - 2:30 pm

Workforce development as a driver for business retention and expansion
This session will examine new workforce development realities and how they will shape community building and business retention and expansion programs.

2:30 - 2:45 am


2:45 - 3:30 pm

Old and new stakeholder perspectives on business retention and expansion
In this session, attendees will learn about the changing face of business retention through three unique stakeholder perspectives.

3:30 - 4:00 pm

Business retention and expansion objective, outcomes and benefits

4:00 - 4:30 pm

Business retention elements
Here, attendees will learn about the four mission critical elements of any business retention and expansion program.

October 19

8:30 - 9:30 am

Business retention elements (continued)

9:30 - 10:00 am

One-to-one database marketing and the correlation to business retention and expansion
Key principles from one-to-one database marketing for successful business retention and expansion will be examined and discussed.

10:00 - 10:15 am


10:15 - 11:00 am

One-to-one database marketing and the correlation to business retention and expansion (continued)

11:00 am - Noon

Stratifying and identifying your best customers
All customers are not created equal. This session will help attendees identify and understand who their best customers how to utilize with for successful business retention and expansion.

Noon - 1:00 pm

Lunch on your own

1:00 - 1:15 pm

Implementation scenarios
Attendees will examine business retention and expansion programs in rural, urban, regional, state/provincial markets and discuss their similarities and differences.

1:15 - 1:45 pm

Using business intelligence obtained through business retention and expansion
Connect the dots between business retention and expansion and relevant programs, policies and strategies and learn how to integrate BRE into the larger economic development picture.

1:45 - 2:00 pm

Business retention and expansion for disaster preparedness and recovery
Business retention and expansion for disaster preparedness and recovery.

2:00 - 2:15 pm

Marketing and branding your business retention and expansion program
You've put together your BRE program, but to connect with businesses, you first need to educate them. Marketing and branding are an important part any successful business retention and expansion program.

2:15 - 2:45 pm

Using social media for business retention and expansion
The use of social media is pervasive in today's world. This session will examine its relevance and uses for business retention and expansion.

2:45 - 3:00 pm

Leveraging resources and final takeaways
A fast-paced summary of the course and content.

3:00 - 3:15 pm

Wrap-up and certificates


* Agenda subject to change

**PLEASE NOTE: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, participants must attend the entire course and stay through the final session on the last day. Please make travel plans accordingly.**



Laith Wardi, CEcD
ExecutivePulse, Inc.
Erie, PA

Laith Wardi, CEcD, is President and founder of ExecutivePulse, Inc. He has worked in the economic development professional for over 21 years. Laith has comprehensive experience in business retention & expansion that includes one-toone outreach to hundreds of value-added client companies, work as a resource provider, and 15 years of regional program management in his home state of Pennsylvania. During his tenure in economic development, he also worked in business incubation and provided small business mentoring services to entrepreneurs.

Laith provides skills training, technology and management consultation to clients seeking to implement systematic and sustainable business retention and expansion programs. In 1994- 95, he pioneered the first web-based system for business retention. Today, The ExecutivePulse CRM System is an industry leading technology solution for all facets of economic development and the most widely used database for business retention & expansion in North America. ExecutivePulse is now being used in Australia as well as the United States and Canada.

Laith has provided training on business retention and expansion for International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 1996. He has trained over 5,000 persons for IEDC during that timeframe. In addition to IEDC, Laith provides BR&E online instruction for the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OUEDI). He has also presented to hundreds of economic development and allied audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico on customer retention, one-to-one database marketing and technology assimilation.

Laith is a graduate of Mercyhurst University and received his economic development certification through IEDC in 2002. In addition to economic development, Laith has experience in real estate management, media sales, and as a strategic planning consultant for both public and private sector clients. He currently serves on a variety of local economic development boards and committees in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Dale Wheeldon
President & CEO
British Columbia Economic Development Association

Dale Wheeldon brings 30 years of knowledge and a varied background in economic development and local government. Dale has his Certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and has been the recipient of numerous awards for his contribution to communities and those involved in economic development.

Until February 2007, Dale managed a team of professionals in Chilliwack, BC working with a variety of industries to locate and expand. He developed the North American winner of the 2007 Business Retention International Program Awards. In 2007, he was asked to take on the role as the President and CEO of the BC Economic Development Association. In addition, Dale and his business partner, Colleen Bond, run ECDC Consulting providing strategic planning, business retention and expansion program development and other economic development services throughout North America. His working relationships with all levels of government and industry associations have helped to increase the profile of EDO's and the importance of the profession in BC. Dale is a regular speaker and instructor for IEDC and started the Economic Development for Local Leaders program that has been delivered throughout British Columbia, Alaska and in other parts of Canada and introduced Economic Disaster Recovery Programs in Canada in 2012.




  CEcD logo

This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.


Accommodations/Training Location

Pantages Hotel
200 Victoria St,
Toronto, ON M5B 1V8
Reservations: 416-362-1777

Room Rate: $199 CAD
Cutoff date: September 17, 2018




By Sept 7

Sept 8 - Oct 5

*After Oct 5

IEDC Member








Full Time Student**




*Walk-in registrations will be accepted. Full payment must be made on-site in order to attend the course.

** Copy of current transcript required.

  Credit Card

Individual paying by credit card: Click this button if you are registering as an individual IEDC member or nonmember and paying by credit card.


Partner, group or individual paying by credit card, check or purchase order: Click this button to download a form (PDF) if you are paying by check or purchase order, or registering with a promo code. Form must be faxed or mailed, and accompanied by payment.

Should you have difficulty registering online, please download the course registration form (PDF).

Refunds less a $60 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: prodev@iedconline.org at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $60 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.