Evaluating business retention and expansion as a tool for regional development
Australia’s economic and political policy settings have changed to align with a global market economy. These changes have impacted heavily on the businesses sector and in particular on Australia’s regional business and regional economies. In order to assist regional commercial sectors operate more effectively in this environment, a program called Business Retention and Expansion was developed. The Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program was specifically designed to assist the commercial sector of regional communities to work more effectively together through improved connectivity, alliances and partnerships. The outcome is to develop a business operating environment at a regional scale that is more competitive in this new global environment.This paper outlines the findings of a pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of the BR&E program conducted in the Innisfail region of Queensland, Australia. The Innisfail BR&E Program was designed to investigate the impact of using an action learning approach to develop ownership and leadership within this Queensland community. The project focussed on strong local knowledge and involvement and community interaction, underpinned by expertise from the University Sector and the Queensland Government.