In difficult economic times throughout the midwest, investors and companies may look for ways to reinvigorate their businesses or products.
Another avenue is to start new businesses. Economic Development Officer, Dan Hobson, with Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation says it’s a good time for people thinking of starting businesses, and some have taken the opportunity. Particularly, 2 new food trucks have opened in town in the past 6 months or so.
Despite difficult economic times in Lloydminster, the situation isn’t all doom and gloom. According to the City, there are 1,432 currently active or issued business licenses this year: lower than last year and the year before, but not drastically so. In 2015, there were 1,774 business license, and 1,693 in 2014.
“There are people that are starting their own businesses right now, and over the last year or two. Right now, there’s a lot of people that have lost their jobs or have reduced hours, and if those people have ever been dreaming or thinking, I’d like to be in business for myself, maybe now is the time. Lloydminster is very well-known for its entrepreneurship,” says Hobson.
“There’s numerous studies that are done that show Lloydminster is a great community to start a business, and the climate is right for that kind of investment, in yourself and in your community.”
Economic Development has done studies that narrow down which sectors in the border city could use expansion. The highest levels fall into 5 different areas: manufacturing, public administration, agriculture, utilities, and professional services. According to Hobson, the most common comment or complaint that citizens of Lloydminster have, with regards to services here, is that there aren’t enough recreational activities for youth.
Hobson also says that 80 per cent of new jobs come from existing clients or businesses, so the focus right now in town is to protect what we already have. In that, he also briefly addressed the debate regarding getting away from oil and gas. Although Lloydminster, and much of the province, is highly dependent on oil and gas, Hobson wouldn’t classify it as situation where the city is “over-saturation,” or that we have too many oilfield-related businesses.
“These industries are so established that they’re actually exporting their services and expertise. Oil and gas in Lloydminster is, by far, one of those. We have a very big oil and gas sector, and they are province-wide, country-wide renowned for the oil and gas services that our local businesses provide here. It’s something to be proud of, it’s not something to say, ‘there’s too much of these, we need somebody to go away.’ That’s not the case,” explains Hobson.
“Diversification is definitely a good thing, but being experts in another thing, is not a bad thing.”