Of businesses interviewed, nearly half in Sparwood and over half in Kimberley say they are growing. This information comes from two Business Retention and Expansion reports released by the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute.
Business Retention and Expansion focuses on addressing the needs of existing businesses in a community, encouraging them to stay (retain) or grow (expand). It involves speaking with businesses to build relationships and better understand their challenges and opportunities.
Key findings of the reports include the following.
- Most businesses have operated for more than 20 years.
- 26 per cent expect their sales will grow by between 10 and 24 per cent over the next year.
- The overall business climate is “good,” and the majority of businesses believe it will improve over the next five years.
- Top barriers to expansion are a lack of suitable premises and skilled staff.
- Most businesses have operated from one to four years.
- 60 per cent own the facility in which they operate.
- The majority have fewer than five employees.
- The overall business climate is “fair.”
The Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute was formed in fall 2010 as a collaboration between the Trust and Selkirk College. By doing applied research and providing information, it is helping strengthen rural communities in the Columbia Basin Boundary region.