Group formed help drive eco­nomic ideas


The City of Swift Cur­rent is turn­ing to a se­ries of home­grown busi­ness ex­perts and will be tap­ping into the busi­ness com­mu­nity in or­der to de­velop ini­tia­tives to con­tinue growth in the City.

A me­dia event was hosted on Dec. 9, where Swift Cur­rent’s Busi­ness Re­ten­tion and Ex­pan­sion Com­mit­tee un­veiled their ini­tia­tive to en­gage the busi­ness com­mu­nity with a sur­vey to help iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth.

“As a for­ward think­ing com­mu­nity we must work to­gether to at­tain it,” ex­plained City of Swift Cur­rent CAO Su­san Motkaluk.

“We can not sim­ply wait for the good times to roll in. By work­ing to­gether we can cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties and pros­per­ity for us all. We want to en­sure sure that our city, and our re­gion, are driv­ers of eco­nomic pros­per­ity in Saskatchewan, es­pe­cially dur­ing th­ese ex­cit­ing times of growth.”

Motkaluk high­lighted that City Hall has been push­ing a se­ries of eco­nomic plan­ning ef­forts, start­ing with the for­ma­tion of the Eco­nomic Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee last spring. Ear­lier this year, through their Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Di­vi­sion, the City en­gaged in a process of ac­cess­ing the eco­nomic land­scape in or­der to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for Swift Cur­rent’s suc­cess. They are cur­rently putting to­gether an ‘eco­nomic pic­ture’ of Swift Cur­rent, com­par­ing the com­mu­nity to seven other pro­vin­cial cities, and de­vel­op­ing a valu­able tool to fo­cus at­ten­tion on ar­eas of op­por­tu­nity and growth.

“For us to fo­cus our ef­forts we re­ally wanted to know what ar­eas of pri­or­i­ties ex­ist,” she said.

Swift Cur­rent Mayor Jer­rod Schafer said the City’s busi­ness re­ten­tion and ex­pan­sion ef­forts are key to the con­tin­ued growth of the city and re­gion.

“There’s lot of ef­fort go­ing into it and it’s im­por­tant,” Schafer said. “We can sim­ply sit back and ride the mo­men­tum that the prov­ince has, but I think this is a proac­tive ap­proach to en­gage our busi­ness com­mu­nity and do all we can to con­tinue to grow our City as we move for­ward.”

“We’re re­ally for­tu­nate. We’ve got a wealth of very suc­cess­ful busi­ness peo­ple here in Swift Cur­rent and I think our ef­forts to es­tab­lish an Eco­nomic Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee we’re try­ing to tap into that knowl­edge and that ex­per­tise and that ex­pe­ri­ence as best we can and that’s go­ing to help us do a bet­ter job do­ing all we can to at­tract more.”

While the idea of this cur­rent ini­tia­tive is sim­i­lar in scope to the ef­forts of Ac­tion Swift Cur­rent, this cur­rent frame­work re­in­forces the de­sire to have the com­mu­nity move for­ward to­gether.

“It’s prob­a­bly sim­i­lar in terms of thought, in the fact that we re­ally want to en­gage our com­mu­nity and work col­lab­o­ra­tively to build a model go­ing for­ward. Specif­i­cally this is fo­cussed on things that we can do to im­prove the busi­ness cli­mate for busi­nesses that are al­ready here, and what our short­com­ings or op­por­tu­ni­ties that we can also pro­vide to at­tract new busi­ness as well.”

“I think it’s great that it’s a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach and we’re work­ing to­gether to grow the com­mu­nity.”

Dur­ing Jan­uary, the Busi­ness Re­ten­tion and Ex­pan­sion Com­mit­tee (BRE) will be re­leas­ing an on-line sur­vey to the busi­ness com­mu­nity in or­der to gauge the cur­rent busi­ness cli­mate and iden­tify the growth op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist. Com­mu­nity Fu­tures South­west in­vested $15,000 in the ven­ture in or­der to bring to­gether strate­gic al­liances and con­tin­ues mov­ing the com­mu­nity to­wards a com­mon goal.

“This BRE sur­vey is a crit­i­cal step in our eco­nomic anal­y­sis,” Motkaluk said. “The goal of the sur­vey is to iden­tify busi­ness needs and op­por­tu­ni­ties in our com­mu­nity by talk­ing di­rectly to lo­cal busi­nesses.”

“I don’t want to call them gaps per say, but there’s ar­eas where we can do bet­ter. And so we can at­tract in­vest­ments, or at­tract busi­ness in some key ar­eas and it can un­lock or drive or pros­per some op­por­tu­ni­ties in our re­gion. So by fo­cussing our at­tempts I think we’ll get more of an out­come than per­haps if we just con­tin­ued sta­tus quo,” Motkaluk added.

“Once the eco­nomic anal­y­sis is com­pleted, and the BRE sur­vey re­sults are com­piled, we will have a solid pic­ture of where we are at, and more im­por­tantly po­ten­tially where we will go.”

Darla Lind­b­jerg, CEO of the Swift Cur­rent and Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce is pleased to see the City seek­ing a busi­ness voice while look­ing for ways to grow the City.

“If we can get busi­nesses’ per­spec­tive on their cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, and what they need go­ing for­ward, we can make a huge im­pact in the com­mu­nity, not only for ex­ist­ing busi­ness but to bring new busi­ness in,” Lind­b­jerg said.

“If we see an area within the com­mu­nity that needs some at­ten­tion we’re go­ing to look at that area and we’re go­ing to work to­wards ad­dress­ing it and essen­tially fix­ing it, cre­at­ing so­lu­tions for the is­sues go­ing on in Swift Cur­rent right now.”

The mem­bers of the Busi­ness Re­ten­tion and Ex­pan­sion Com­mit­tee rep­re­sent gov­ern­ment, ser­vice providers, agen­cies, busi­nesses, and all rep­re­sen­ta­tives have a com­mon in­ter­est of sup­port­ing the busi­ness com­mu­nity in an ef­fort to en­sure the con­tin­ued growth and pros­per­ity of Swift Cur­rent and area.

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