For Business

California economic developers are dedicated to helping the businesses in their communities thrive by focusing on:

Business Retention and Expansion
Business Creation
Business Attraction

If you are a business representative and are looking for resources, please contact CALED, and we will connect you to the appropriate economic developer. If you are looking to learn more about business retention, expansion, creation, and attraction, you’re in the right place.


CALED established the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA), a Joint Powers Authority (JPA), to address gaps in Economic Development financing. Click here to learn more about CEDA’s IDB, 501(c)(3) revenue bond, and PACE financing tools.

Business Retention & Expansion

Now, more than ever, it is important for economic developers in California to focus on keeping the businesses we have and helping them grow. With the negative perceptions about doing business in California and our business climate, attracting new business is not always the easiest form of economic development. And, as we’ve all heard before, “A bird in the hand, is better than two in the bush”.

Economic developers work hard to find new and innovative ways of working with their existing businesses. But there are some basics of business retention and expansion that a successful BRE program will have.

CALED’s Orange County Chapter Leadership delivers an excellent training on the subject: Business Retention and Expansion Workshop (BREW). Here are some of the basics they feel are important:

  • Build a business database–collect information on your local businesses
  • Be aware of market conditions–analyze and understand your community & businesses in it
  • Build a support system–lean on your colleagues
  • Foster relationships with internal partners–know the “go-to” people in your organization
  • Foster relationships with key external partners–agencies, real estate professionals, and other ED stakeholders
  • Get a toolbox–identify business incentives, Workforce Investment Act, know Federal/State designations, etc…
  • Know your permit process–Is there are permit assistance team or fast-track program in place
  • Make business calls–prioritize your contacts and visit your businesses
  • Be prepared
  • Sell yourself as a resource
  • Call back on your major businesses–keep in touch with them

Thank you to the members of the Orange County Chapter for sharing their insight and expertise, especially Janet Coe, former Orange County Chapter Chair.

Entrepreneurship As An Economic Development Strategy

Business creation is considered by many to be the most difficult and resource-intensive form of Economic Development. However, there are great pay offs for a community if the program is well thought out and done correctly.

As Chuck Wolfe, Principal, Claggett Wolfe Associates explains, there are many good reasons communities choose to use entrepreneurship as an Economic Development strategy.

  • Gardening vs. Hunting: Some communities would rather invest in businesses that can be grown in their backyard versus hunting for businesses that may be interested in moving to their city or county.
  • Some communities lack the competitive advantages to attract large firms and it makes sense for them to grow what they have.
  • Working with local entrepreneurs and inventors allows a community to retain local innovation and talent.
  • It also allows you to retain and build wealth in the community.

Chuck is a long-time trainer on entrepreneurship as a form of Economic Development as well as an nationally recognized incubator expert.

Business Attraction

Business attraction is the most well-known aspect of economic development.  Each community should take the time to understand their current business environment, their competitive advantage, and the industry sectors that are already thriving in their back yard before engaging in this activity.

Where to go for more information
These resources will answer the most frequently asked questions business owners want to know when deciding where to locate.