The RDI is proud to announce the release of Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) reports for Kicking Horse Country and Nakusp. As part of a 3-year pilot project, the RDI provides training, research and reporting support to communities in the Basin-Boundary region who undertake BRE initiatives. Community-led BRE projects focus on speaking with existing businesses to build relationships with the business community and better understand their challenges and opportunities for expansion. It is estimated up to 90% of job growth in communities comes from existing businesses. At the foundation of every BRE effort is a commitment to action over the short and long term. With the valuable information collected through community-driven BRE projects, decision makers and economic development practitioners are well positioned to provide support to our local businesses and take action to improve the overall business climate in our region says Dr. MacDonald, Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development. "Communities in our region are using the same survey instrument to guide conversations with businesses. This provides the data the RDI needs to better understand challenges and opportunities at a regional and sectoral level, as well as the community level." To date, a total of 555 businesses have been surveyed through BRE projects undertaken during the first 2 years of the pilot project. These projects include the Manufacturing and Technology Sector Initiative (MATS) BRE project led by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology and the Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council, the Lower Columbia BRE project led by the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation, the Boundary Country BRE project led by Community Futures Boundary and the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Kicking Horse Country BRE project led by Golden Area Initiatives, and the Nakusp BRE project led by the Nakusp and Area Development Board. The RDI is currently finalizing the Slocan Valley BRE report in partnership with the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission and the Slocan Lake Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to working with Kimberley and Sparwood in 2014.