A BR+E project can be an effective way to help local businesses overcome unforeseen circumstances. Recognizing this opportunity, Huron County’s BR+E team set out to complete a BR+E project in early 2021 with the aim of recruiting volunteer teams to visit local businesses to gather data before identifying and implementing goals and actions. Shifts in public health restrictions led to several shifts in Huron County’s approach, and the project team has since been able to successfully navigate through Stages 1 to 3 of the BR+E process. Here’s how they did it.
Key takeaways from Huron County BR+E project:
- Keeping stakeholders engaged
Huron County’s BR+E team recognized the importance of establishing open internal channels of communication. With the assistance of volunteers, the project team brainstormed and implemented new ideas and tasks that kept them connected with stakeholders. By maintaining constant engagement with stakeholders, the team was able to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere with open communication, which in turn led to fruitful conversations around project planning and implementation
- Being as flexible as possible
The uncertainty brought about by shifting public health restrictions affected many aspects of economic development activity. It was therefore crucial that the Huron County BR+E team was both adaptive and flexible to a constantly changing economic climate. The team responded effectively to many changes, for instance by shifting the data collection strategy from in-person interviews to mailed-out surveys.
- Keeping it simple
The Huron County BR+E team ensured that it was easy for all business owners to complete their BR+E survey. Acknowledging some broadband connectivity issues among their more rural business operators, the team sent surveys out via post and created a fillable PDF hosted on the County website as an alternative. By streamlining data collection, the team was able to attain a high response rate.
- Being resourceful
Throughout the Huron County BR+E project, it has been apparent that business resources are central to responding to business inquiries, challenges, and opportunities. The project team realized the importance of trusting their supporting partners (e.g., Community Futures Huron) as they relied on a multidisciplinary advisory committee to provide assistance and guidance.
The Huron County BR+E team is currently holding sector-specific roundtables to gain more insightful data and narrow down focus areas for the County’s BR+E strategy. The team hopes to further engage stakeholders and partners in the process of creating a 3-to-5-year strategy.
The Huron County Economic Development team did BR+E right. To learn more visit: https://www.huroncounty.ca/economic-development/bre/