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Business survey highlights the good and needed improvements  



by Sylene Argent


Recently, Essex’s Economic Development Officer, Nelson Silveira, presented the 2018 Economic Development Week Survey Results to Essex Council.


  In recognition of Economic Development Week, which was held between May 6 and 11, the Town of Essex joined the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC), other area municipalities, Workforce Windsor-Essex, WEtech Alliance, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth to conduct a business retention and expansion survey, the report he submitted to Council for the August 7 meeting stated.


  Businesses were asked a series of questions related to their operation, location, and staffing, the report notes.

 

The idea of the survey was to gauge how well business were doing and identify where challenges existed, the report to Council on the matter states.


  Silveira told Council on August 7 that 14 percent of the around 150 regional survey participants were businesses located in the Town of Essex. Administration also visited 10 businesses onsite to conduct one-on-one interviews.


  Of the Essex businesses that responded, the majority rated the general impression of the community as a place to do business as “good.” Of the 18 respondents, eight noted that compared to last year, their attitude about doing business in this community has not changed, seven said they were more positive, and three indicated that they were more negative.


  The majority of the respondents also noted they would rate municipal property taxes as “fair,” and the majority rated the support from the municipality as either “fair” or “good.”


  In the next year, the majority of businesses said that they expected to remain the same, while a couple are expecting to expand.


  Within the next five year, the business respondents said they would like to see a variety of significant changes, with the most common answer being residential growth, and unity within Council and with other boards, BIA, and businesses. Other answers included promoting the area, continued development of new businesses, more exposure for businesses not on the main street, having the business improvement plan fair for all business in Essex, continued improvements downtown, and filling empty buildings.


  According to Silveira’s report, the next steps include, but are not limited to, participating in the First Impressions Community Exchange program through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which highlights what could be visitors’ first impressions of a community. Relationship building with local business owners to identify opportunities to help business expand in the community would also be continued.


  Another step is to identify and assist businesses at risk of leaving or closing by increasing business sector awareness of available resources. This could be small business counselling, networking, partnerships, and lending or access to capital or grant funding, the report notes.


  Administration, he stated, will continue to meet with new and outgoing businesses to ensure open communication to discuss any challenges or opportunities.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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