The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) held their annual Business Appreciation Week from October 24-28, 2016 with 105 businesses visited. 99% of the businesses surveyed said they like doing business in Frederick County and 54%, a record number this year, said they have plans to expand within the next three years.
“To hear that over half of the businesses visited want to expand is great news and follows what we been seeing all year long. Our small businesses, who are the backbone of our economy, are expanding, outgrowing space and adding employees,” said OED Director Helen Propheter.
Business Appreciation Week is the Office of Economic Development’s largest retention program throughout the year. The week long program consists of 60 ambassadors comprised of local and state economic development partners. Visits give OED the opportunity to thank businesses for all they do, assess the local business climate, look for trends and provide feedback to the community.
From the results tabulated, 76% of businesses said this year was better than last year and 20% said business remains the same. Businesses were optimistic about next year, with 85% predicting business will be better than this year.
Frederick County’s strategic location was named the top factor for doing business, followed by growth opportunities here and the County’s quality of life. The top items mentioned as a concern for doing business were access to a skilled and/or quality workforce, permitting and updating zoning definitions to meet the changing demands of new industries. “We hear over and over again that businesses choose Frederick County because it makes good business sense. Our location adds to so many quality of life aspects and opportunites,“ said Ms. Propheter. “We must adapt to new industries, new employee skill set needs and new ways of doing business to stay competitive. Business Appreciation Week gives us an insight first hand on the challenges that businesses face.”
Over 9,600 employees were represented in the businesses visited in all areas of Frederick County. Businesses visited included major employers, growing industries, businesses that contribute to Frederick County’s quality of life, businesses that help main streets thrive, home-based business, startups, small businesses and non-profits. New this year, OED added a full day to Agriculture businesses. Overall, the top 5 industries visited in 2016 were Service, Retail, Agriculture, Bioscience and Technology.
The theme of the week was Frederick County is a place “Where Big Ideas Grow” and each business was asked to write down their “big idea”. Some of the ideas included, “Mentor the next generation of technicians,” “Put Frederick County on the map as a premier wine region,” “Radically change the way people use stem cells,”and “Reduce heathcare costs and expand accessibility globally.” To view more “big ideas,” follow OED on Facebook at www.facebook.com/discoverfrederickmd or view the photo gallery on the website at www.discoverfrederick.com.