Skip to main content

NC State Extension

Business and Workforce Development

Workforce Development, Business Retention and Expansion (BRE), and Entrepreneurship programming are strategies intended to stimulate a community’s ability to thrive economically.

Workforce Development

Workforce development is a form of economic development that focuses on building worker skills. It encompasses both enhancing skills of employees within a business or organization and creating a pipeline of new talent for local business. Workforce development, therefore, involves connecting employers with existing or potential employees in order to strengthen economic opportunities within a region. This connection is made through a variety of programs and networks.

Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) is generally considered to be  local development efforts intended to nurture the growth of existing businesses. These efforts can range from informal to formal, but generally consist of a survey or interview process of existing businesses by the local economic development organization, followed by a plan to address common challenges (like lack of infrastructure, high rents, etc.) and an offer of assistance to those businesses experiencing more specific, urgent needs. The CREATE BRIDGES program is a BRE initiative through N.C. Cooperative Extension designed to strengthen the retail, accommodation, tourism, and entertainment sectors.


Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur, someone who builds and manages their own business for the purpose of making a profit. Successful entrepreneurship generally arises as the result of a gap in the market that other businesses are not currently filling.

Communities can support entrepreneurship by creating an environment that supports innovation, building resource networks, and conducting marketing campaigns that promote hometown entrepreneurial businesses.

Entrepreneurship Resources

NC SBTDC Business Startup and Resource Guide

NC SBTDC Developing a Business Plan

Lean Business Model Canvas


Links to Resources