TN Business Retention & Expansion Course

On average, 80% of new jobs and capital investment in a community are generated by its existing businesses.  The Tennessee Business Retention and Expansion Course is a one-and-a half-day course that focuses on how to develop, implement and evaluate an effective retention and expansion program. Course topics include promoting existing businesses, addressing sudden and unexpected losses of major employers, and the importance of retooling both the workplace and workforce.

This course is one of a series of economic development courses, provided by UT Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS), designed to share best practices and trends with Tennessee’s economic development practitioners, private industry leaders, community leaders and elected officials.​

Date and Location:

November 19-20, 2024

UT Conference Center | 600 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37902 (See hotel accommodations below for hotel booking link)

Course Agenda:

Course Fee:

Registration: $445 | Early Registration $395 (by: October 28, 2024) 

The registration fee covers course materials, instruction, selected meals and refreshment breaks. It does not cover hotel and other travel expenses. Registration is limited to 35 participants and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Please remit payment for the course no later than 10-days prior to the course start date.  If payment is not received, you risk having your registration cancelled to make room for those on the wait list.

Course Times:

Onsite check-in: 9:30 AM
Day 1: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM 
Day 2: 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Meals provided: Day 1 - Lunch; Day 2 - Breakfast


If you need assistance accessing your account, please contact Carol Jones at 615-253-6371 or You may also register by submitting a Course Registration Form by email. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy:

Cancellations made 7 days or more prior to the course start date will be eligible for a full refund or credit.  Cancellations made less than 7 days will be eligible for credit only for a future course.  

Hotel Accommodations:

Hilton Knoxville | 501 W Church Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902 - A limited number of rooms have been reserved at a discounted rate of $113. Make your reservations by October 28, 2024 to receive the group rate. Click here to reserve your room.  Book early as the block may fill up!

This link and rate code is only available for class attendees.  If this link and special rate is used by someone outside of the class, the reservation will be cancelled and a fee will be applied to the credit card used to book the reservation.  


A limited number of scholarships are available to course participants from Tennessee. Scholarships cover $295 of the $395 early registration fee, and do not include hotel, travel or meals. Scholarship recipients will be required to pay $100 of the tuition cost, which will not be refundable should the participant withdraw from the course. Applications must be received by: October 8, 2024 to be considered.

If applying for a scholarship, please register for the class to save a seat and choose the "Invoice" option. If a scholarship is not received, the participant may decide to keep the seat or withdraw at the time of notification with no penalty. Scholarships are non-transferable. 

Applications for scholarships can be downloaded here Scholarship Application.

Dress Code:

The attire for the course is business casual.

Other TCED Economic Development Courses:


Laith Wardi

Laith Wardi, CEcD, is President and Founder of ExecutivePulse, Inc. He has worked in the economic development profession for over 20 years. Laith has comprehensive experience in business retention & expansion that includes one-to-one outreach to hundreds of value-added client companies, work as a resource provider, and 15 years of regional program management in his home state of Pennsylvania. 

During his tenure in economic development, he also worked in business incubation and provided small business mentoring services to entrepreneurs.