Anni Holtby is coordinating a business expansion and retention project for Nelson and area. She will conduct confidential interviews with about 150 local business owners this summer.

Business retention and expansion study underway

Interviews with Nelson area business owners will inform strategy for local economic development

The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership is busy talking with local business owners to gather their input for its 2015 business retention and expansion project.

In the coming months, project coordinator Anni Holtby will interview about 150 business owners to learn about the challenges and successes they face with doing business in the area. These confidential interviews will be used to inform action planning to help improve the local business environment.

The last business retention and expansion study was conducted for the area in 2010, when businesses were riding out the effects of the economic downturn.

At the time many businesses were concerned about maintaining their customer base because consumer spending was down — they asked for a campaign to support local shopping and a greater effort to attract tourists to the area. Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership was able to respond with a strong Buy Local campaign and the creation of the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism Association.

The 2010 project also recognized a need for more networking opportunities, training on succession planning and human resources, seminars and events, and information on making businesses more environmentally sustainable. As a result, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership worked to increase the number of workshops and events available to businesses.

“We’ve accomplished a lot since the last survey five years ago, but there is always more to be done,” said Andrea Wilkey, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership member and executive director of Community Futures Central Kootenay. “The 2015 survey will help us identify priority issues to make Nelson and area an even better place to do business.”

The business retention and expansion survey will reach out to all sectors of our local economy including manufacturing, tech sector, home-based businesses, storefront and professional services. If you would like to participate in the survey, contact coordinator Anni Holtby at nelsonBRE@shaw.ca.

The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership is a partnership between the City of Nelson, Community Futures Central Kootenay, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and RDCK Areas E and F. The partnership’s goal is to take a unified approach to community economic development initiatives for the city and region.

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