Business Retention &
Expansion Program

2023 Executive Summary


Introduction to BRE Program and Objectives:
The Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program, a core initiative of The Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership, focuses on supporting and retaining local businesses for sustained economic growth. Recognizing the significance of existing businesses in driving economic development and job creation, BRE visits aim to address business needs, assist with expansions, and help companies navigate economic challenges. Annual BRE visits serve as a platform to connect with businesses, identify trends, and determine policies for advancing the regional economy.


The Greater Omaha Chamber and our partners connected with over 270 companies in 2023. Data was collected on 245 employers in the Greater Omaha region. This includes 115 large employers (50 or more employees), 113 small businesses (less than 50 employees), and 17 startups, representing a total of 45,562 employees across diverse industries. Notable sectors surveyed include healthcare, manufacturing, IT, and public/ not for profit/utilities. BRE visits were conducted by the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership staff. Interviews were conducted with business owners, CEOs, C-Suite level employees, and managers to gain a comprehensive view of the economic ecosystem. The BRE team individually reached out to businesses to conduct in-person discussions.


Business Growth Projections:

Approximately one-third of companies expressed plans for capital expenditure in the next three years, totaling over $3.3 billion. The investments include renovating current facilities, buying new equipment, and expanding or investing in new facilities.

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Workforce Growth

A dynamic wave of growth is expected to happen in 2024. The companies that participated in our BRE program, expressed a total of 2,511 jobs to be added in 2024. This not only signals a commitment to their individual growth trajectories, but also contributing significantly to the overall employment landscape of Greater Omaha.

Top Issues Faced by Companies:

The survey identified labor availability as the most common challenge (103 companies), influenced by pandemic impacts, a competitive job market, remote work preferences, skills mismatch, wage pressures, and demographic trends. Access to capital ranked as a major concern for small businesses and startups, with connections established to community resources like Nebraska Enterprise Fund and Kiva Iowa, a microlending platform.

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Workforce Trends:

130 employers maintained their current level of employment and 71 employers increased full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the past year, with a similar trend expected for the year ahead. The top positions needed included engineers, production/warehouse workers, office roles, and sales representatives. Industries foreseeing major job growth included food processing, professional services, IT/data processing, and commercial sales/retail.


The BRE program resulted in positive outcomes, including 59 new economic development relationships, 28 instances of business assistance provided, 45 referrals to Greater Omaha Chamber programming, 64 referrals to community programming, and the identification of 11 potential investors and 12 new economic development projects.

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The BRE program in the Greater Omaha area actively engages with businesses, addresses key challenges, facilitates connections to programming and resources, and contributes to substantial capital investments, fostering economic growth and sustainability.
Participating Organizations:

  • Greater Omaha Chamber
  • Grow Sarpy
  • Greater Fremont Development Council
  • Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation
  • Nebraska City Area Economic Development
  • Mills County Economic Development Foundation
  • Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council
  • Gateway Development Corporation