| Feb 15, 2007

Feature Article - February 15, 2007

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Feature Article - February 15, 2007

Business retention and expansionby Jeff Green

The County of Frontenac is undertaking an exhaustive survey of businesses within the county to create a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing businesses, and hopefully provide insights into how to overcome some of the barriers preventing businesses from thriving over the next few years.

Three hundred and thirty businesses: 50 from North Frontenac, 80 from Central Frontenac, 150 from South Frontenac, and 50 from the Frontenac Islands , have been approached to participate in the survey, which takes about two hours to complete. Several people have been trained to conduct these surveys over the next few weeks.

Earlier this week, Dianna Bratina, the Manager for Economic Development from the County, conducted a survey with Frontenac News’ Publisher Jule Koch.


Participating businesses are first assured of the confidentiality of the interview process, and none of the answers they give are identified with their business.

“We are gathering information that we can put into a database for our own use in identifying what can be done to help the business community on a regional level, and the information will also be added to a provincial database,” Dianna Batina said.

The survey starts with a series of questions about the business climate, asking about strengths as well as barriers. It also asks about business owners’ attitudes towards the services provided by all three levels of government.

Questions about future plans are included as well, with space being devoted to what can be done to make expansion plans more likely to proceed. Use of technology is a feature of the survey, and access to cell phones and high speed internet is addressed as well.

There is an immediate benefit to the business owners who take the survey. Frontenac News Publisher Jule Koch said it gave her insights into the future of her own business that she didn’t have before. “Normally I only think about the day-to-day issues of running a business,” she told Dianna Bratina, “This survey made me think a bit about what we should be thinking about in the longer term.”

The information gathered by the surveys will give Dianna Bratina a stronger sense of the common and divergent concerns of business owners in all economic sectors throughout the county. Aside from a general section, there are specific sub-surveys for agricultural, home manufacturing, tourism related, and other kinds of businesses.

The generalised data that is gathered will be available to the public soon, and Batina is hoping to prepare a final report on the project by the fall.

“We will see which barriers to growth can be addressed locally and which will require provincial support,” she said, “and hopefully by the fall we will be in a position to present the results and propose some action to the public.”

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