Open for Business - 9 Days, 900 Surveys
Monday, April 4, 2011 7:00 am
After only 9 days in the field, over 900 Central Florida business leaders and government sector employees had given their feedback on barriers hindering economic recovery in the eight county Central Florida footprint. The response rates of the Open for Business 2011 Central Florida Business Climate Surveys, as well as the intensity of the individual responses, was tremendous.
“It’s almost like Central Floridian’s had been having these conversations with others or in their own minds, and finally had someone to tell,” indicated Dan Ball of SGS, Inc., the firm used to conduct the survey. “It’s like they had pent up thoughts on the economic health of the region they were waiting to share.”
A coalition of Central Florida business associations, appropriately labeled Open for Business - the Central Florida Coalition for Growth & Prosperity, formed in late 2010 to address the region’s economic recovery. Focused first on identifying economic and regulatory barriers, this broad-based coalition represents thousands of employers in the eight-county Central Florida service footprint made up of Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties. Conducting a survey to gather both quantitative and qualitative data from the region was phase I of the project.
Top line results indicate that participants represented all types of businesses, from single-employee startups to large international corporations, they were politically diverse, and they had lots to say. With nearly 300 pages of commentary, the high quality verbatim responses will provide a rich source of insight into the “whys” behind the perceptions. Results also indicated that business leaders were cautiously optimistic about the future. Only 17% said the Central Florida business environment is worse than the rest of the state, and 41% said they expect things to get better in the next year. Another highlight – fully 36% said they expect to need more employees next year and only 9% said they would need fewer employees.
One theme that clearly popped out in the verbatims was that Central Floridians have a sense of community. The clear recurring themes of “regionalism,” “regional approach” and “regional collaboration” were prevalent among positive verbatim responses. In both versions of the survey (business leaders edition and government sector edition), respondents were optimistic about the cooperation between businesses and government agencies.
“The work of the 'Open for Business Coalition' is critical to the success of employers and the workforce. The Coalition’s work to survey employers to identify barriers to growing business, add to their workforce, or inability to complete in the marketplace will provide research for future recommendations to ensure Central Florida is truly ‘Open for Business’.”
-Gary J. Earl, President & CEO, WORKFORCE CENTRAL FLORIDA
Included on the coalition’s Organizing Committee are: Associated Builders & Contractors, Central Florida Partnership, Florida Bankers Association, Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, and WORKFORCE CENTRAL FLORIDA.
The results of the surveys will be further analyzed, and shared in more detail with elected officials, business leaders and the community at large through May 2011.
This project is managed by myregion.org, a “Line of Business” of the Central Florida Partnership focused on Regional Research and Resolves, with over ten years of successfully encouraging unprecedented cooperation and collaboration among community leaders to ensure Central Florida's standing in the global economy and improve opportunities for generations to come.
myregion.org is one of four “Lines of Business” by which the Central Florida Partnership focuses on “Regional Research and Resolves.” By identifying and examining the changing demographics and powerful trends that are shaping the Central Florida Region – myregion.org is helping to identify the issues and challenges that affect our future.
Click here to learn more about myregion.org.