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Chamber, Council Survey Small Businesses to Determine Needs

When Leah Peterson of Ozark Mountain Poultry took the chamber’s business retention survey, she said it felt more like a converstaion. She answered questio...

When Leah Peterson of Ozark Mountain Poultry took the chamber's business retention survey, she said it felt more like a converstaion.

She answered questions about her business, growth and expansion plans, but she also shared her challenges.

"Childcare. It's a huge issue in Northwest Arkansas," Peterson said. "We do have a severe shortage of enough childcare so thats something my laborforce is constantly working toward and we have to be able to meet that need."

The Northwest Arkansas Council says pieces of information such as that, extracted from the survey, can help them improve the business climate in Northwest Arkansas.

Partnering with the chambers of commerce in five cities, its the area's first regional business survey. Since November, 150 business have taken the survey.

"We've got resources on the back in we can call in to help them whether its a training need, it might be an issue with sales and sourcing it might even be a stoplight or something as simple as that," Mike Harvey, with the Northwest Arkansas Council said.

The council says they can even fight for businesses on the state and national levels, using data from the survey to back up their claims.

"We want to improve the business climate and help companies grow," Harvey said. "But for our purposes we want jobs and investment and hopefully at higher wages."

One third of companies surveyed are focused on expansion, investment and employment plans in the next three years.
Nearly 500 new jobs are expected in the area, and the council and employers hope the information learned from the survey will help that number grow even more.