Most local businesses like region but identify barriers to success

© Can Stock Photo / Baz777

While a third of respondents feel better about their business prospects this year, a new survey suggests more could be done to support their recovery from the pandemic.

A total of 117 local businesses were surveyed between May 2 and June 3 by Workforce WindsorEssex, Invest WindsorEssex, and St. Clair College. Most of the responses were from the manufacturing and other services sector. Of those, 41 per cent had four or fewer employees.

The annual survey identifies what businesses need to succeed and helps economic development professionals develop strategies to ensure their growth.

“The Windsor-Essex Economic Development Survey provides valuable data and insights that help shape the region’s action plan,” said Invest WindsorEssex President and CEO Stephen MacKenzie.

Top barriers to growth identified include a shortage of skilled workers, marketing and financing, the cost of rent or lease, the cost of electricity, and support from the municipality.

More than half said their attitude about doing business in Windsor-Essex had not changed, but 14 per cent felt more pessimistic about their prospects.

Of the responses, 68 businesses said they plan to expand, while four indicated they would close their doors.

As for how they operate, 72 per cent said all of their employees are now back in the workplace. Nine per cent said remote work remains their plan.

As for hiring, 31 per cent of respondents rated their ability to keep new workers as good, while 39 per cent cited the availability of qualified employees as fair.

On a positive note, eight out of ten felt Windsor-Essex is an excellent or good community to do business and positively ranked access to high speed or fibre optic internet.

“Through the survey, we are able to not only identify pain points for employers but their successes as well,” said Tashlyn Teskey, manager of projects and research at Workforce WindsorEssex. “Sharing the findings with the community allows all stakeholders to identify where they can better support employers and the labour market overall.”