The Director of Economic Development for Huron County says they were pleasantly surprised by the response from the business community to their Business Retention and Expansion Survey.
Vicki Lass says the fact that they had to conduct the survey during a pandemic complicated things but they're thrilled that over 21 per cent of the businesses responded to the survey and they gave them important information.
And that information can be used as a basis to form their next strategic plan for economic development in Huron County.
“We found, really, Huron County is made up with a high portion of owner-operators, quite a number of small businesses that really drive our economy. A number of them, up in the 80 per cent region, are one and four employees, with the owner on site,” said Lass.
Lass says they knew work force was an issue, but they thought it was a general labour shortage.
What they learned from the survey was that, across all sectors, it's really a shortage of skilled and semi-skilled workers.
“During COVID, these particular businesses really found that not having an H-R function made things more complicated. So, with all of the changes that were going on, the openings, the closings, the restrictions, leave time for having COVID, all of this was a lot to keep track of for small business,” added Lass.
She summarized by saying the survey highlighted areas where Huron County Economic Development can make a difference.
That includes helping with training, or supplying materials or interpreting materials for those small businesses.