The Town of Strathmore, in partnership with InnoVisions & Associates hosted the first Business Café as part of the newly launched Business Needs Assessment, July 6, at the Strathmore Station. 

Local businesses and proprietors were invited to attend the event as an opportunity to network, as well as to discuss their current needs in order to facilitate growth.

“This is the beginning of what we call the business needs assessment. So, prior to COVID-19, during COVID-19, and now after COVID-19, we are experiencing a new economy for businesses unlike anything we have ever seen,” said Natalie Gibson, principal with InnoVisions & Associates, who led the business café. “What is important is we measure the pulse of the business community to say ‘what are your challenges, what are opportunities that we can maybe come alongside and help support your business to thrive and grow?’”

Gibson described meeting with local businesses as Phase 1 of the needs assessment. Going forward, the next steps will be to meet with business owners one on one, and as part of focus groups in order to follow up and gather more information. 

This fall, InnoVisions & Associates will release a report to the town which will indicate recommended priorities and what local businesses are looking for in order to grow. 

“Our goal is to look for resources or support services that may be local, maybe provincial partners or regional partners, like Community Futures. Then, we would work together with a 12-month action plan of who does what and when do we start,” explained Gibson. “Growing the community in a planned and sustainable way is easier said than done. The starting point is local businesses – 70 to 80 per cent of all new investment comes from the businesses, the job creation (and) the opportunities that are already here.”

Strathmore town council has established economic development as one of its current strategic priorities and is seeking to establish a better understanding of the local business ecosystem in town, and how to best support it. 

From listening to businesses in attendance at the café, Gibson said some of the primary comments made regarded workforces as a challenge in several respects, as well as a lacking in resource awareness that is available to businesses at a local, provincial, and federal level.

Further meetings, surveys and resources will be made available for businesses to participate in the needs assessment throughout the summer, prior to the release of the report come September or October.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 12, 2023 at 23:01

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated