Spotlight: Regional Business Retention Visits

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Business retention and expansion (BRE) visits are a strategic initiative for APEX. Each year the APEX team outlines key industries and businesses of focus for the visits. Depending on the industry and location, the APEX team coordinates private and/or public leaders to join in the conversation.

The ultimate objective of the visit is to identify concerns and opportunities for the BRE team to leverage their resource network to address those concerns. Common concerns include workforce development, policy, transportation and access to capital. After many BRE visits, APEX follows up with the business to share appropriate contacts and resources. Collective information gathered in these visits also assists APEX in enhancing existing and developing new strategic initiatives. Visit results and findings are also documented on the Minnesota Chamber’s confidential GROW Minnesota site, where results are used to help formulate pro-growth policies for the State.

Recently, Tamara Lowney, APEX Senior Business Developer, hosted several BRE visits with strategic partners and investor-members as part of APEX’s forest products industry research, including UPM Paper, Sappi Global and Verso Corporation.

Lowney and Mark Zimmerman, Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) President and CEO visited with UPM Paper in Grand Rapids. “There is much to be gained in these retention visits – bringing strategic partners like IEDC, potential supply chain, and access to a variety of financial, operational or business support resources can directly impact a business’ ability to succeed in today’s global environment,” stated Lowney.

A team of APEX partners also met with Sappi Global and Verso Corporation. Representatives with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and City of Cloquet Economic Development Authority visited with both companies to understand how to anticipate and align resources to help sustain and enhance the forest products industry.

APEX has visits planned with UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) and Lonza to build on the forest products industry research gleaned thus far. Other sector-specific BRE visits are planned in the manufacturing and utility industries. For more information, or to schedule a BRE visit with your company, contact Tamara Lowney at 218-740-3667.

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