The Pulse of Business: City of Summerside Launches Business Priorities Survey
We have officially launched our second Triage Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) Survey. The original survey took place during November 2018. Now, just over one year later, we wish to administer the survey once more to see how things have changed.
In general terms, we wish to better understand the plans and needs of local businesses and how business owners/managers view the community as a place to do business. The information from the survey will be used to plan future activities focused on the top priorities of local businesses. Any activity of ours can be traced back to assisting existing businesses or attracting outside businesses that are starting or expanding. It is all in the name of increasing our population, our commercial assessment, and/or our number of jobs.
Like the first survey, we have retained MDB Insight, an economic development consulting firm, to assist with the project. MDB Insight will be working with us to review the completed surveys for challenges and opportunities that the local business community is facing. Businesses are encouraged to participate in the telephone survey which will take place from mid-February to early March and should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. If MDB Insight happens to contact you, it would be much appreciated if you could devote a small part of your day to helping us.
The week of February 10 will be devoted to getting the word out as well as putting the finishing touches on the questionnaire. To those that participated the first time, there will some modest changes, but that’s to be expected as MDB Insight continually evolves and adjusts their process. The analysis and presentation of responses is expected during the week of March 23. We will have a significant interest in whether the largest priorities from November 2018 will persist in this survey, namely
1. Availability of skilled labour
2. Municipal property taxes
3. Availability of unskilled labour
The modern trend is for people to go where the jobs are, whereas in the past, it was the other way around. Now that there exist jobs in Summerside that traditionally were absent (IT especially), it will be fascinating to learn if anything has changed.
In summary, ensuring that our local business community is effectively served by the City’s lead economic development agency is the primary purpose of our mandate and through this survey, we hope to gather and learn what opportunities and challenges our businesses are facing. We must ensure that we connect businesses needing help with resources available through our networks and services that are aligned with our program delivery. Let the survey begin!
In This Together
The purpose and activities of EDOs often mystify people. Most know it’s business-related, but perhaps not much beyond that. In short, our process is to influence the growth and well-being of Summerside through job creation, job retention, increasing and balancing the tax base, and improving the quality of life. Our job is to persuade others to act in Summerside, with activities such as developing an area, expanding their business, or creating new jobs. In other words, we are business catalysts. We do this by reaching out as well as responding to inbound queries and have several tools to assist us. Lately, we have been approached regularly about labour.
As mentioned in the previous article, labour is frequently top of mind to anyone doing business in Summerside. That has caused a need for a new type of labour force and matching employees to employers can be daunting. Fortunately, we are here to help and have several avenues to do so. Here is a quick roll call of what we offer:
): This is a labour attraction tool we have at our disposal to post any opportunities in the Summerside area. Perhaps its best feature is reached. Fresh grads and experienced professionals interested in moving to PEI from across Canada are notified of postings that are a good fit for them. Magnet also has a relationship with World Education Services, which means eligible professionals from around the world can apply for positions we post.
): This is another labour attraction tool that connects PEI employers to job seekers. When we post something on Magnet, we typically use WorkPEI as well. An added benefit is that we keep resumes on file in case we identify other opportunities that come along.
): This is a special campaign of ours that is designed to attract business immigrants, ex-pats, and students. The basic idea is that job seekers sign up, declare their skills and interests, and then we attempt to match these people with employers seeking specific talent. We have reached out to people from all three focus areas above at different times.
): This is a labour analysis tool that allows us to see how many active resumes are present anywhere in PEI. This comes in handy when someone is considering Summerside as a new place to do business. Resumes can be searched by skills, education, NOC, NAICS, geography, and others.
Office of Immigration
): We have a great relationship with our Provincial Office of Immigration. Now that their office has expanded to Summerside, this is even truer. If you have questions about how to hire someone new to Canada or to bring them to Canada, we can help you connect to the right people.
Keeping Resumes on File:
This isn’t so much a service rather than just common sense. If a job seeker approaches us either through one of the tools above or calls us outright, we keep their information in case they match up well with another employer.
Last, we have several other channels to get messages out, such as this newsletter, social media (@SummersideBiz
), and our website (http://www.bigpossibilities.ca/
We consider ourselves to be facilitators and helping fill job vacancies is part of that. Whether you are looking to hire or to be hired, it could be worthwhile to reach out.
It Came from the UK
It was back in November 2018 when the original Inbound Summerside UK Mission took place. The basic concept was that under our Living Lab Program several UK-based companies travelled to Summerside to better understand doing business in Canada, to identify opportunities, and to see the closely-knit business support community with their own eyes. Of course, it didn’t hurt to spoil them with our food either.
Since that mission took place, there have been many positive developments to share. Two of the attendees, Connective Touch and Hello Lamp Post, began pilot projects during 2019. Another attendee, OpenPlay, began working with us in 2018 before the initial mission even took place.
Now that nearly a year and a half have elapsed, it’s about time to organize another trip, which will take place from March 9–12. The spirit of the mission will be like before. That is, companies will come here to meet key stakeholders and develop comfort and trust with their peers, government-based agents, and those that offer professional services. One difference is that there will be two tiers of participation this time. One cohort of companies was here for the first mission while another will be here for the first time. Four companies will be returning (Connective Touch, Hello Lamp Post, OpenPlay, Industrial Phycology) while we expect four to five new companies, ranging from security to archiving to aerospace.
Naturally, we have different expectations for these two cohorts. The returning companies already have a rapport with many people and three of the four have executed a pilot project of some sort. This will allow them to have more focused discussions with distributors, installers, customers, and so forth. Some of them are even ready to hire Summerside-based employees, so this trip will be a great opportunity to interview candidates. The new cohort won’t be expected to steer their meeting schedule quite as strongly. Instead, they will be introduced to a slate of officials and professionals that can help them with doing business as well as community members that are interested in their offering.
According to our past UK visitors, Summerside’s greatest strength is our ability to bring everyone together and convince these companies that we all have deep and friendly relationships. Networks are tight, everyone knows each other, and all involved want to help them succeed. Our UK matchmaker once said that in his area businesses must break down their own doors to make their way. In PEI, though, our approach is much different; which is to make anyone feel comfortable and that we are here to identify opportunities and help them every step of the way.
Summerside by the Numbers
If interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or opportunities for growth, please call our Economic Development Professionals.
We would love to chat.
Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It could be the most profitable email you ever send.
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E: email@example.com
LET’S BUILD THE FUTURE TOGETHER!