OPRO Findings and Action Plan Revealed

Mayor Robert Kirby with Carole Lavigne, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, along with lead project agent M. Olivier Berthiaume presenting the Findings and Action Plan of the Regional Prescott and Russell Opportunity Report
L’Orignal, February 20, 2019 - The main findings and the regional action plan of the Opportunités Prescott Russell Opportunities (OPRO) survey were unveiled this morning during the monthly Council meeting of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (CUPR). Representing the opinion of 563 local business owners from all eight Prescott and Russell municipalities, the 100-page document provides an overview of local businesses and their future plans, as well as the regional workforce and business climate. This document also includes an action plan and a regional business retention and expansion strategy based on a strategic diagnosis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).

Interviews with business owners were conducted by 25 surveyors, from May 2017 to February 2018. During this period, surveyed business owners were offered support as required, which resulted in 74 requests for information or support. Of these requests, 38 businesses received emergency support from the project team or the Regional Business Support Network, which consists of 13 resource organizations. It is estimated that 20 companies have been maintained in the region as a result of the support offered.

“Never before have municipalities had access to such high-quality data to plan their economic development, and this will ensure that our initiatives and priorities are carried out in parallel with the opportunities and challenges our businesses are currently facing,” explained Carole Lavigne, Director of Economic Development and Tourism of the UCPR.

The participation rate for this survey is particularly high, at 64%, and the survey results have a 99% confidence rate and a 4.8% margin of error. It is important to note that the data collected was analyzed anonymously and that an action plan was developed in collaboration with the business community and regional economic development stakeholders. This initiative is part of a community effort to ensure business retention and expansion in all eight municipalities of the UCPR.

“It is clear that there is a great amount of work ahead, however, with the information presented today, we now know what actions to prioritize in order to better support our entrepreneurs and ensure they have all the resources they require to expand,” stated Robert Kirby, Warden of the UCPR Council.

The regional report has revealed three main advantages: a very good business climate, the region's excellent geographical position, and an outstanding quality of life for residents in all municipalities across the UCPR. As for the challenges faced by regional businesses, the report identifies the low availability of skilled labour, the limited capacity of utilities (Internet, electricity and natural gas) and high business costs. In this regard, the 13 actions included in the regional action plan aim to address these findings. For more information, please see full report on the UCPR’s website, at www.prescott-russell.on.ca.

In the photo, from left to right, are: Robert Kirby, Council Warden; Carole Lavigne, Director of Economic Development and Tourism; and Olivier Berthiaume, Project Officer.