Economic Gardening/Business Intelligence Program

Economic gardening represents a way of supporting growth companies that provides local CEOs strategic information customized for his or her company. The goal is top line revenue growth and additional jobs.This program is offered in conjunction with UW-Extension and the National Center for Economic Gardening and hosted by the Edward Lowe Foundatio.

To do this, teams of skilled researchers mine sophisticated databases and use high-end tools related to search engine optimization, geographic information systems and social media marketing. Some examples of their assistance include:

  • Identifying and prioritizing sales leads and business opportunities.
  • Refining companies’ core strategies and business models.
  • Using social media to connect with customers and create buzz about products or services.

Our economic gardening initiative is designed with the second-stage business in mind. Our virtual model enables time-crunched CEOs to participate in an economic gardening network without leaving their offices. To participate we are looking for companies in the range of 10 to 99 employees and generate between $700,000 to $50 million in annual revenue, depending on their industry.

How it works: After qualifying companies are selected as participants, a team of research specialists are assigned to work with them. The team’s first step is to interview CEOs and pinpoint their specific growth issues. This interview process is important because often a company’s real obstacle to growth may be masked by another issue. The research team then devotes a certain number of hours to each company over the course of a few weeks to gather and deliver action-oriented information.

What you get: In contrast to other types of business assistance, Economic Gardening has a laser-like focus on strategic issues, which means addressing challenges — and identifying opportunities for your company. The Wisconsin and NCEG’s National Strategic Research Team (NSRT) provides analysis and information on five key areas: your core strategy, market dynamics, qualified sales leads, innovation and temperament.

Within this framework, the NSRT uses sophisticated, corporate-level tools such as:

  • Commercial databases — This includes subscription-only data sets that are mined to find new markets, competitor intelligence, new products and industry trends, along with industry and government regulations. In addition, the NSRT does “deep Web” searches by tapping information sources that are buried in the Internet beyond the first few pages of search-engine results.
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) — GIS specialists use computerized data mapping to spot densities of current customers and competitors, identify potential new clients and geographic markets, and produce qualified sales leads.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and Web marketing — The NSRT first analyzes your website, looking for any problem areas that might be deterring traffic. Then the researchers identify key words and content to raise your visibility in search-engine rankings. We also track social interactions on other websites, blogs and online communities to see who’s talking about your products and services, determine key influencers in your market and help you connect better with customers. In addition, we’ve developed listening posts to scan news and blog sites and provide high-quality information on topics you select (think Google alerts on steroids).

For more information on the BCEDC Economic Gardening Program or to apply, contact  Dave Armstrong at 715-637-6871 or at

Business Counseling Provided

The BCEDC is a link to county, city, state, and federal economic development programs that address the issues of retaining jobs and expanding the job market throughout the county. We provide such technical assistance in the retention and expansion activities of the county’s existing businesses, through training and educational seminars, business retention and expansion surveys, labor market studies and one-on-one personal/confidential counseling and mentoring with businesses.

So whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, or office-based business or service, Barron County wants to help you grow a successful business. We are committed to building a solid infrastructure and developing economic development in our community.

Established Businesses – We Can Help!

  • Manage your business financial life
  • Evaluate your business operating efficiency
  • Work through problems or challenges

Please contact Dave Armstrong at for more information.