Despite the downturn in oil and the loonie, things are looking up for businesses in Regina, according to a new survey.
The survey was taken by Praxis Consulting for the City of Regina. It talked to businesses in Regina in May about the future of the city’s economy.
Surprisingly for Valerie Sluth, managing principle at Praxis, 95 per cent of business executives said they believe Regina’s economy will either grow or stay the same in the next year. Six months before, the outlook from these businesses was negative.
Mark Heise is the vice-president and brewmaster at Rebellion Brewing in Regina. He’s on the positive side.
“I think what we’ve realized is that the sky hasn’t fallen, and in Regina, specifically, businesses are still thriving and booming … I think there’s just so much going on here, I think there’s so much untapped potential still in this city.”
There has certainly been a dip in the economy, but Heise said that just means businesses will have to up their game.
“What it does mean is you have to sharpen your pencil, you have to look inward at yourself, how to get better, get better every day.”
Sluth said the most surprising result to her was that businesses feel the city is doing well when it comes to availability of labour.
Heise was on the same boat, saying that he’s not worried about a shortage of labour, as he looks at transferrable skills – he went from an accountant, to working in IT, to brewing beer himself.
“Clearly oil and gas industry has had some challenges – we frankly have just hired some people from the oil and gas industry,” Heise said.
Answers given in the survey paint a picture of the business climate in Regina:
- Regina and area was ranked as being generally attractive to businesses.
- Regina was rated as being business friendly.
- The reputation and availability of post-secondary programs were rated as Regina’s top two most attractive factors.
- The cost of servicing land was rated as the city’s least attractive factor.
- Over half of respondents said the availability of labour should be Regina’s top priority
- Over half of respondents said leisure and recreation is the most effective regional attribute in retaining young talent.
Sluth explained Praxis takes all the questions they asked and put them together to come up with the Regina Executive Leadership Outlook Executive Confidence Index on a scale of one to three, with one being an expected economic decrease and three being an expected increase. The results of this survey came up with a 2.11, which is slightly higher than the last survey taken.
“We do consistently hear that Saskatchewan knows how to weather cycles. We’ve done it in the past, we know how to do it, businesses don’t over-leverage,” said Sluth.