CALGARY—Businesses in Calgary believe the energy market has fundamentally changed and, according to research conducted jointly by Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Chamber of commerce, 67 per cent of them are actually optimistic about their future prospects.
“Businesses have recognized that many of these are long-term changes,” says Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber. “As a result, businesses are also now clearly telling us they are facing a hugely challenging economic period—56 per cent of businesses say that they have slowed down in the past year. Small and medium businesses faced some of the fastest hits as the economy slowed.”
The chamber says Calgary businesses today are facing a time of unprecedented economic, political, technology, regulatory and demographic change.
Nonetheless there are encouraging signs for the future.
“There is a growing sense of optimism that we’ve weathered the worst of this economic storm,” says Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “More than two-thirds of Calgary businesses (67%) are generally hopeful about the future.”
Cost-cutting is widespread, but unlike previous downturns many businesses are focusing on solutions that support their resiliency and diversify their business, including:
- 51 per cent pursuing more productivity and efficiency
- 39 per cent are investing in new lines of business
- 29 per cent are exploring new markets
- 21 per cent are training their staff with new skills.
“What we are seeing is the resiliency of Calgary,” says Moran. “Three-quarters of businesses feel that while our economy is still dominated by energy it has become far more diversified in recent years. The research shows Calgary is a city that embraces change and businesses are confident they will be able to prosper from it.”
“However, a concerning number of businesses still appear to be holding out hope that things will just turn around,” says Legge. “Hope is not a good business strategy and fear is even worse. The businesses that will thrive during these challenging times are those that make changes to adapt to the world around us and focus on areas like innovation, productivity and new markets.”