Pontiac Business Profile released Access to funding a challenge for local businesses

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Carl Hager

FORT COULONGE – The results of the Pontiac Business Profile survey was presented by consultant Marc de Gaspero at the Conference Centre in Fort Coulonge on Thursday, January 11th. In summary, he noted that Pontiac businesses are small, their owners are older, and they mostly serve a local

Carl Hager

FORT COULONGE – The results of the Pontiac Business Profile survey was presented by consultant Marc de Gaspero at the Conference Centre in Fort Coulonge on Thursday, January 11th. In summary, he noted that Pontiac businesses are small, their owners are older, and they mostly serve a local
market. With only one quarter of them seeking help from the SADC, Gaspero said this is an opportunity for the SADC to be more involved with the business community.
The survey was commissioned jointly by the MRC Pontiac, Emploi-Québec and SADC at a cost of $20,000. Gaspero was impressed with the excellent response rate: out of 645 businesses in the region, 244 answered questions in telephone
interviews.
For the majority of owners (78%) this is their first business, with most of them (64%) owning only one. In the next five years, 20% of business owners plan to pass the business on to already known people (family members etc.), and in total, it is projected that one-third of present owners will be leaving their businesses.
What do Pontiac businesses do? The main categories described were – Retail: 18%; agriculture/forestry: 18%; other services: 14%; accommodation/food services: 11%; and construction: 8%.
In terms of earnings, twenty-six percent report $50,000 or less; seventeen percent report $50,000 to $149,000; 41% between $149,000 and $1 million; and sixteen
percent over $1 million.
Demographics revealed an older population and a gender divide between female (45%) and male (55%). In terms of education level attained, about one-third reported secondary school/trade school qualifications, 31 percent with CEGEP level and fifty percent reported education received was not related to their
business. English is the most commonly used language, and applies to employees and clients with no problems reported regarding language. Sixty one
percent say they do not hire seasonal workers.
In the under-developed Pontiac it is not surprising that owners report a slow market as their biggest challenge; they also report funding (10%) and regulations (8%) as difficulties. Hiring qualified workers is only rated a problem for 5% of owners. Owners reported access to better funding is needed, with only 37%
saying they will make a major investment in the near future.
It is anticipated that the data presented in this consultant’s report will be used in future action strategies including meetings with business partners. Among
the 40 attendees, MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller closed the meeting , saying:  “More than ever we need to work together”.