New report finds optimism among Northern Colorado business owners

BizWest – Local business owners are feeling good about the state of the Northern Colorado economy, according to the recently released Northern Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Annual Report 2018.

The report, issued for the first time this year, was compiled by the Business Retention and Expansion Partnership of Larimer County, a group that includes representatives from the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, the towns of Windsor, Berthoud and  Wellington, Larimer County, Larimer County Small Business Development Center, Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development, Loveland Chamber of Commerce, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, Estes Park Economic Development Corp. and the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance (which has rebranded as One NoCo).

Several organizations from around Larimer County came together to better understand what is happening in our regional economy and how we may be able to better assist businesses to grow in our area,” Jacob Castillo, Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development director, said in a prepared statement. “This effort has also helped to create a more unified approach to servicing local businesses and fostering greater collaboration among all of the partners involved. I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish and look forward to building on this in the future.”

The report’s authors gathered surveys from 315 businesses in Larimer and Weld counties. Both counties were included because they “have an interconnected economy and a shared laborshed,” the report said.

Of the business owners who responded, 70 percent claimed “their feelings about the Northern Colorado economy were up.” That same percentage expected to grow the size of their workforce in the next five years. Only 3 percent said their feelings about the economy went down in 2018.

The growing economy and population of Northern Colorado were named as the top opportunity by 30 percent of respondents.

Difficulty finding skilled workers was the biggest threat facing businesses, according to 24 percent of those who responded to the survey.

“The data from 2018 indicates employers are pleased to be here and are planning to add work and hire more people. They also made it clear that workforce is a big issue we need to stay focused on,” David May, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce president, said in a statement.

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