RICHMOND - Richmond is starting its area business retention and expansion program on Thursday.

The program will work with area businesses to give them feedback on how to be more competitive. A group of 20 to 40 volunteers will visit about 80 businesses.

During a visit, two volunteers will gather information on business strengths and weaknesses using a 10-page questionnaire. After results are gathered, a task force will review the findings to present to the city.

Adeel Ahmed is an associate extension professor at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality and will be leading the program. He says they are sill looking for about 20 volunteers.

Anyone interested can send Ahmed an email at ahme0004@umn.edu, they can also attend the first training session on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Jerry's Firehouse Grill in Richmond. A second training session will take place on January 20th before the program gets started.