Stuart Wise, MNP; Brad Piercy, MNP; Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training; and Corby Lamb, Chair, Campbell River Chamber of Commerce

Despite some uncertainty about the economy, more than half of local business leaders in Campbell River expect their businesses to perform better financially in 2017, and about 4 in 10 businesses plan to hire additional employees.

These were among the key findings of the first MNP Campbell River Business Leaders Survey, conducted in partnership by the accounting and consulting firm MNP and the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce. Results of the survey were released on March 23 at a sold-out economic outlook breakfast hosted by the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce.

“This was our first year completing the survey in Campbell River, so it provides an important benchmark for future surveys,” said Brad Piercy, a partner with MNP in Campbell River. “While there are some clear areas of concern among local business leaders, the overall outlook is cautiously optimistic.”

A total of 200 local business leaders were polled by phone in January. Respondents included business owners, CEOs, presidents, executive directors and designated senior corporate officers across all industry sectors in Campbell River and the surrounding regional district areas. Looking back at the past 12 months, about half (51%) of respondents reported that the financial performance of their business improved in 2016. Three in 10 businesses said they hired additional employees last year.

Uncertainty about the economy ranked as the top challenge facing local businesses in 2017. Specific concerns varied widely, from the impact on local businesses when major projects such at the John Hart Project and the North Island Hospitals Project wind down, to broader economic concerns such as the fluctuating Canadian dollar and the potential impact of international trade barriers on the resource sector.

Looking ahead, half of respondents said they plan to grow and expand their business in the next five years, while one-third expect no significant change in their operations. A number of business leaders plan to exit their businesses in the next five years, either by selling to a third party (9%), transitioning the business to a family member (3%), selling to employees (0.5%) or simply closing the business (2%).

The Chamber of Commerce and MNP plan to repeat the survey in two or three years.

The full survey results are available on the Chamber’s website at www.campbellriverchamber.ca or at www.MNP.ca/CRsurvey.

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