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    April 26, 2018
    Greater Vernon Business Leaders Survey Results Released
    Thursday, April 26, 2018 - Vernon, B.C. – Despite some uncertainty about the future of the regional economy, more than half of local business leaders in the Greater Vernon area expect their businesses to perform better financially in 2018 with almost 40 percent planning to hire additional employees.
    These were among the key findings of the first MNP Greater Vernon Business Leaders Survey, conducted in partnership by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and the accounting and consulting firm, MNP.
    Modelled after similar surveys conducted by MNP in other communities across Canada, the results provide an economic snapshot on a range of topics including business climate, economic outlook, hiring intentions, growth expectations, key challenges and local issues.
    A total of 200 local business leaders were polled by phone by a third-party market research firm, PRA Inc., between March 23 - April 12, 2018. Respondents included business owners, CEOs, presidents and designated senior corporate officers across all industry sectors in the Greater Vernon area.
    “We are very happy with the participation we received for the first year of the survey, which gives us a valuable benchmark with which to compare the results of future surveys. I’m hopeful that the results will spark some meaningful discussion in the Vernon area about how to help our local businesses grow and succeed, and improve the overall economic climate in the Okanagan region,” said Trina Warren, Regional Managing Partner, Thompson-Okanagan Region, MNP.
    While generally very positive, business leaders noted concerns about the uncertainty of the future of the economy, the difficulty to attract and keep skilled staff and challenges related to government regulations and processes.
    • 53% of respondents reported the financial performance of their business improved in the past 12 months and 35% hired new employees.
    • Looking ahead, 65% of respondents expect their financial performance to improve in 2018 and 39% expect to hire additional employees.
    • 58% of businesses define their five-year business priority is growth and expansion.
    • The most highlighted challenges that could limit that growth includes uncertainty about the local economy (44%), government regulations (36%), lack of skilled labour (32%) and the image of the Vernon community (30%).
    • Respondents said tourism is a key economic driver and should be a top priority for economic development for the Greater Vernon region.
    • 19% of respondents said they have had a cyber security breach and 32% do not currently have a plan in place for security measures to protect their businesses information.
    • 51% of businesses surveyed feel the newly announced payroll tax will have a negative impact on their business and 48% will be negatively impacted by the proposed minimum wage increase.

    Greater Vernon Business Leaders Survey                                                                                          P. 2
    Dione Chambers, General Manager, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce added the survey is one of several initiatives the organization has undertaken to stay focused on the current and future needs of local businesses. 
    “One of our goals of the Greater Vernon Chamber is that we provide ongoing access to timely, relevant local data that we gather through the surveys, business walks, focus groups and roundtables that we host on a regular basis,” said Chambers. “We ask relevant and important questions to be able to share information about what’s on the mind of Greater Vernon businesses and what matters most to businesses in our community. We then follow that up with action through our advocacy efforts.”
    The Chamber of Commerce and MNP plan to repeat the survey in two or three years to see what’s changed. But the immediate focus will be to work with local business leaders to address their primary areas of concern and support those that want to grow.
    A summary presentation of the survey results will be available online at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce website.
    About the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
    The Greater Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization comprised of members who represent businesses and professional organizations—and are dedicated to ensuring the North Okanagan will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. The Chamber works collectively with its members to ensure a healthy local economy and a positive business friendly environment.
    About MNP
    MNP is one of the largest national accounting and consulting firms in Canada, providing client-focused accounting, taxation and consulting advice. National in scope and local in focus, MNP has proudly served individuals and public and private companies for 60 years. Through the development of strong relationships, MNP provides personalized strategies and a local perspective to help them succeed. For more information, visit www.mnp.ca.
    Dione Chambers, General Manager, Chamber
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