Economic Growth / News / Opportunities / Resources
What does it take to create the ideal business environment?
While a magic potion for perfection has yet to be invented, there are key ideas and strategies you can put in place to start cultivating a thriving business and investor attractive environment.
In order for any ecosystem to exist, there must be a community of independent organisms interacting with each other to create an interconnected system within their physical environment. This does not only apply to plants and animals, but us as humans as well. The “organisms” in our community include business, schools, and government, to name a few.
Our goal with Invest Medicine Hat (IMH) is to create a thriving business ecosystem that consistently attracts new investment and enables existing business to succeed and grow. How do we do that? We start by looking at the independent organisms within our environment to ensure they are working collaboratively and cohesively.
To begin building a healthy business environment, you must start with local business. Take a look around your community. Are the business owners happy? Are they staying in the black or making plans for growth? If not, find out why.
Have discussions with these businesses and find out what is working and what isn’t. These are people who live and breathe their business because they want to, and also because they have to. They are the ones who stay awake at night trying to find ways to be more successful. No one understands what is needed in our business environment better than business.
Today’s businesses are competing in global markets and to be competitive they require a business environment that offers them advantages over other competing jurisdictions.
Talking to local business owners, supporting them and most importantly, finding ways to make productive improvements together will give them the competitive advantage they need to grow and prosper.
Let’s take a look at the eight central components of a competitive business environment.
Post-Secondary education plays a fundamental role in the creation of a strong workforce. It can be difficult to convince new businesses to invest if there is a foreseeable struggle to fill future positions. What kind of programs is your college or university offering? Are these programs applicable to the needs of local business, present and future? Are these programs able to provide skilled workers for your industries and geographical location?
By offering programs that are applicable to local jobs, you then have positions available for students upon graduation and skilled employees for investors and business owners to hire. It’s a win-win.
Anyone who runs their own business knows how integral access to capital can be. Understanding the level of risk that financing sources are willing to take could mean the difference as to whether a business (and an economy) will expand or contract.
It is important to speak with angel investors and other local lending agencies to find out what they are doing for local business. Are the banks equally supportive of small, large and global companies alike? Are they willing to communicate and work alongside business to take risks, and support them in their times of need? Local banks and financing agents must be willing to work with and for businesses so that growth can occur and business can prosper.
Government regulation. You know the drill because you’ve been through it, or know someone who has. Government processes can often feel unnecessarily lengthy and frustrating. Take a look at what internal processes need to be updated. Where can departments start working collaboratively to create efficiencies with a customer quality focus?
When governments stop doing things solely because that’s the way they have always been done and instead focus on improving communication and streamlining internal processes, they create an overall improvement of the experience investors go through, hence a higher likelihood of successfully attracting new investment.
A healthy business environment requires a healthy infrastructure system. Consider what modes of logistical transportation are in existence, such as road, rail and air. How well are power, water and waste facilities operating? Are you looking at industrial and commercial operations equally? And finally, what modes of efficient communication are in place including bandwidth capabilities? All of these items are essential to building and maintaining a competitive edge for business.
LAND AND PROPERTY
In order for investors to build, they must have somewhere to build. Find ways to make commercial, industrial and residential properties not only available, but also accessible in order for expansion and investment to occur. Investigating how property prices compare against other locations and ensuring that necessary services are at hand is what makes land ‘shovel ready’ and ‘investor ready’. Understanding how our lands and services stack up to competing jurisdictions will reveal the prime locations currently sought for investment..
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Environments that are able to use institutions and businesses to generate and capture innovation will add value to any economy. Research and development in natural resources, new products and local services will create opportunities while simultaneously deploying knowledge into the marketplace, therefore creating conditions for growth.
Successful marketing strategies play a significant role in creating healthy business environments. Marketing expertise can be used to evaluate the need for specific commodity production, create strategic approaches to profitable pricing , and to then brand and effectively distribute industrial assets.
QUALITY OF LIFE
A healthy environment has a healthy workforce and that begins with the well-being of a society. There are many aspects to providing a high quality of life. Affordable housing, accessible health and social services, safe communities, sustainable environments, and culture & recreation are just a few of these factors.
Similar to engaging with local business, review your current standards of living, create open dialogue within your community and assess for areas of improvement in order to contribute to the creation of a healthier business environment.
Creating a culture of collaboration across jurisdictional and regulatory boundaries is vital to industry growth in a 21st century economy. The successful creation of an effective business ecosystem comes from combining a healthy environment with an excellent experience, resulting in investor attraction and economic growth. By incorporating this formula into the way we look at everyday business, investors will find themselves in an environment where they can plant their roots, bloom and flourish.