Economic outlook bright for Stettler region and province

Economic experts and entrepreneurs expect brighter times ahead for businesses in Stettler and Alberta in the coming year.

“Overall, the feeling is positive, said Keith Ryder, executive director of Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development, who attended a Business Conditions breakfast this month in Edmonton hosted by Alberta Venture magazine.

“According to studies, forecasts and an in-depth survey conducted by Alberta Venture magazine there is cause for cautious optimism that small and medium sized enterprises will have the opportunity to show increased strength and growth over the next 12 months.”

He shared further information and trends from the session.

In a recent business survey conducted by Alberta Venture, the following positive results came to the top:

• 87 per cent of all businesses surveyed expect their profits to rise in 2011

• 79 per cent expect to increase their number of employees over the next 12 months, however, the procurement and retention of skilled labor is still seen as a definite concern

• 76 per cent of businesses surveyed believe that their operational costs will remain stable in 2011

• 94 per cent of these businesses state that Alberta is an attractive place to do business with 90% agreeing that the opportunity to maximize profits is strong.

• 89 per cent state that the current Alberta economic climate is very inviting for businesses to invest capital.

Small and medium sized enterprises agree that the most recent slow times have illustrated the following:

• Slowdowns do have some positive effects on experience, gives businesses a chance to review costs, re jig and buckle down for the future.

• Don’t take business for granted

• Don’t leave it to others to solve our business problems.

• Successful businesses must continue to be competitive and build in sustainability to their business plans.

• We have learnt that there is a definite value in being prepared for the unexpected.

• Looking forward to an improved economic times but realize they must be prepared if positive changes do not occur.

• Trust your business instincts; don’t let media or other outside factors influence your business decisions.

• Diversification and innovation is key, be nimble!

• Financial and lending organizations must loosen up and show a stronger confidence and support to small and medium enterprises. The energy sector appears to be well funded, however, the many other business categories, even those supporting the energy sector have difficulty in obtaining capital funding under current financial institutional conditions.

On a larger scale, the province and large businesses must show leadership in steps to:

• Have a big vision for where we are going as a province.

• Develop stronger downstream and value added opportunities for our resources.

• Look at innovative ways to keep grads working within the province

• As we are an export driven economy a focus must be kept on all markets

• The current impact of the Canadian dollar does not favor Alberta exporting businesses and 80 per cent of Alberta Venture’s survey respondents feel that the funding will remain stable over the next 12-month period.

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