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Majority of southern Alberta businesses optimistic entering 2022: survey

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WATCH ABOVE: The results of a new poll suggest southern Alberta businesses are mostly optimistic about their future. The Brighter Together survey was conducted by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Lethbridge. Erik Bay takes a closer look – Jan 26, 2022

The majority of people in southern Alberta’s business community seem to have a pretty positive outlook.

That’s according to the latest Brighter Together survey from the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Lethbridge.

“I think it’s encouraging when the business community is seeing some relief — hopefully — after the last two years of craziness, and they’re optimistic about the future,” said Economic Development Lethbridge CEO Trevor Lewington.

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Of the 160 businesses surveyed, 74 per cent said they feel positive about the overall health of their business. That’s up from 63 per cent the previous year.

The top strengths of the Lethbridge area — as identified in the survey — include quality of life, transportation infrastructure and a collaborative environment. Utility costs, tax environment and workforce availability were seen as the biggest challenges.

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A-Win Insurance (Solutions Group) CEO Tania Stilson feels those strengths have her business well-positioned for the coming year.

“Lethbridge has always been a great place to do business,” she said.

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“It’s a very collaborative environment, there’s a great feeling of entrepreneurship, there’s the two post-secondary schools that we get to pull from. We’re close enough to the border and to Calgary.”

Sixty-one per cent of businesses said they expect to be busier this year, which Lewington believes will be reflected in the community.

“Optimistic businesses are more likely to hire, and that’s something we saw in the survey, that most businesses are planning to add to their workforce,” he said. “That’s great from a jobs perspective.

“When more business owners and businesses are positive and optimistic about the community, that means they’re more likely to invest and make more changes to their business and hopefully grow and expand.”

And after dealing with the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, Stilson said she believes business owners are better prepared for the year ahead.

“My hope is that we can get back to, not even get back to, but get to evolve into the next stage of where the business world is going.”

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The full results of the survey will be released by the end of January.

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