|Members of the Quesnel Business Walks Team|
Along with City Economic Development staff, Mayor Bob Simpson and Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, Community Futures North Cariboo, Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce, Quesnel Downtown Association and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training joined the City as volunteer walkers. All volunteers have a commitment to the success of small business and were excited to speak with businesses owners one-on-one.
The Business Walks program provides an excellent opportunity for the business community to provide input throughout a series of short interview questions. Business owners were honest throughout their responses, and provided excellent feedback to volunteers. This information is presented to the Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, and each Business Improvement Association to incorporate into their business planning resources and services. It also provides direction to staff and Council on initiatives that are felt across the broader business community. During the 2015 Business Walk, Council and staff heard loud and clear that we need to do a better job of marketing our community. As a result, the rebranding initiative was launched and will be ready to introduce early next year.
“Quesnel is a provincial leader in the Business Walks program and these annual conversations with our business community and business leaders play a critical role in Council’s strategic planning process. Partnering with our business organizations to conduct these annual walks gives Council the opportunity to align the City’s initiatives with our business community’s needs to ensure this sector of our economy remains vibrant.” – Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson
A total of 80 businesses were visited from all business districts and home-based businesses on the basis of being a small business under 50 employees. The visits lasted approximately 15 minutes and business owners were asked the following questions: 1) How is Business? 2) What do you like about doing business in Quesnel? 3a) Are you aware of existing business resources in the community? 3b) How can we best share information with you? 4) What other tools, services, or resources would you like to see help business in Quesnel?
Consistent with responses in previous Business Walks, business owners like doing business in Quesnel because “It’s home!” and “We love the people here!” Most business owners were raised in Quesnel or already lived here and chose to open up business where they identified a market opening.
Businesses that were identified as requiring additional assistance will receive a specialized follow-up with referral to services and agencies that can properly address their concerns. They will also receive a complete small business resource guide, that highlights all local, regional, and provincial businesses resources available to them. The complete Business Walk Report has been made available at www.quesnel.ca/Reports2016.html