BREWD: Taking Action for Business – Invest Medicine Hat

BREWD: Taking Action for Business

Economic Growth / News / Resources

 

BREWD stands for Business Retention and Expansion and Workforce Development Strategy. The goal of the survey is to ensure Southeast Alberta is providing a competitive business environment where new and existing businesses have the support they need to succeed and grow. It is managed through Invest Southeast Alberta.

 

Invest Southeast Alberta (ISA) is a collaboration of local business, government and service agencies that are working collaboratively alongside Invest Medicine Hat (IMH) to develop a joint economic action plan, share necessary resources, and ensure action is taken to support the region they serve.

 

Essentially, IMH and ISA are separate identities actively working together towards the creation of a specialized and competitive business environment.

 

The BREWD survey is all about taking an opportunity to survey our local businesses to find out how they see our environment. Where do they see problems, do they have suggestions for changes, and which opportunities should we be going after? The best way to answer these questions is through engagement with the experts –  aka the business owners who are already invested in our city, involved in the community and working hard to succeed in Medicine Hat.

 

“We want business at the front end of what we’re doing. You can’t identify problems in an economy without local business having a say. These are their issues and nobody has thought about these issues more than them. We need them at the table, we need to make decisions based on what they are telling us, and we need them to be a part of implementing solutions.” -Sandra Blyth, City of Medicine Hat

 

During the Fall of 2019, the 100 question survey was distributed to local businesses and job seekers throughout Medicine Hat and area. The data from this survey is currently being organized and the results will be made publicly available in the coming months. Here are some of the preliminary highlights:

 

476 local and regional businesses participated in the BREWD survey
60% of those surveyed feel that business will pick up over the next two years
45% are looking to expand or modernize their business in the near future
28% anticipate their number of employees will increase next year

 

The data collected will also focus on identifying problem areas, creating viable solutions, and implementing action-based strategies for improvement.  Here’s a look at this process:

 

Phase 1: RESEARCH 

  1. Form BREWD Teams – These teams collaborate and spearhead this project to success by engaging fellow business owners, job seekers and residents to volunteer, get involved, or complete the survey.
  2. Survey Business Community – This involves developing the survey and conducting one-on-one interviews as well as online survey completion.
  3. Prepare Survey Research Report – We compile and present findings from our primary and secondary research, and use this data to determine overarching themes or opportunities within our business environment.

 

Phase 2: SOLUTIONS

  1. Facilitate a Research Review Meeting – We will work with BREWD team members to assess the findings of the Survey Research report, providing further insight into identifying potential roadblocks and their solutions.
  2. Host a Task Force Retreat and Set Priorities – Through this we will engage a broader cross-section of community leaders to set priorities and determine which solution-based projects should be led to action and who specifically will lead them forward.
  3. Prepare Summary Report of Priority Actions – This will be an outline of projects ranked in order of priority and assigned project leaders.

 

Phase 3: IMPLEMENTATION

  1. Host Economic Growth Forum – This will be a community celebration and official launch of the projects moving into action. The forum will communicate the commitment of the city of Medicine Hat and local businesses, organizations and institutions to the growth of our local economy.
  2. Begin implementing Action Plans – Leaders will be positioned and plans for action will be initiated.
  3. Evaluate Project and Monitor Progress – We will be measuring progress, aligning priorities, making necessary updates and celebrating success throughout this entire process. Follow up is key to these action plans.

 

Our goal with the completion of the BREWD survey is to enhance cooperation and consensus among business, government, and economic development organizations in Medicine Hat and area. By accurately assessing the needs of local business, including workforce challenges, we can develop a relevant and attainable action plan for economic prosperity, together.

 

For more information, visit InvestSoutheastAlberta.ca