Reno business leaders say improved educational efforts will improve business climate
Washoe County can improve its business climate by making improvements to K-12 education, by providing more workforce development training, and by increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates. Those findings were revealed in a survey of 120 business leaders who were asked how they would improve Washoe County’s business climate.
The Reno Business Leader Survey was funded by First Independent Bank, a division of Western Alliance Bank and conducted by WestGroup Research. Surveys were sent to members of The Chamber of Reno, Sparks, Northern Nevada in July of 2016.
The survey found half (50 percent) of business leaders listed the quality and availability of the workforce as the number one business challenge in Washoe County. The education system came in second (38 percent), followed by health care costs (35 percent), employee recruitment/employee retention (30 percent) and local government (24 percent.)
“As a financial institution working hand in hand with the business community, we know a solid education system is essential to attracting new businesses and retaining those already in Washoe County,” said Bob Francl, Executive Vice President Regional Manager First Independent Bank in a press release. “To see our business leaders identify potential gaps in education that could impact our business climate going forward warrants our attention and action.”
Asked to define three ways local government could improve the business climate, a majority (59 percent) said improve K-12 public education, followed by instituting a sales tax increase for school renovations and construction (36 percent.) and more community college training and workforce development (28 percent).
The survey found executives optimistic about Northern Nevada’s future. Almost half of respondents (46 percent) were “very confident” company revenue would grow in the coming 12 months, the second largest group (44 percent) were “somewhat confident” of revenue growth.
A majority of respondents noted they would invest in specific areas of their business in the coming months. Most will increase marketing and promotion (58 percent), many will hire additional employees (41 percent), or invest in employee training (39 percent), or data analytics (17 percent.)
Additional survey results can be found here.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.