Members of the local business and government sectors met Thursday to try and tackle the negative results of a recent business environment survey.
Leaders from both business and government joined together this past spring to issue a survey to around 800 business owners and community leaders across Monroe County and Bloomington. The survey was a joint effort from the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, the city of Bloomington, Monroe County government and Cook Group. Alyssa McRoberts, global director of business insights for Cook Medical, presented the survey results at a Thursday panel discussion to illustrate how the nearly 140 businesses that responded are dissatisfied with local government’s policies, inconsistent processes and lack of transparency.
“This is what I’m hearing,” Erin Predmore, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s president and CEO, said. “When it’s hard, it feels like not just one hurdle — it’s one after another after another.”
The positive reflections included in the survey’s results show businesses feel successful and are encouraged by a local economy that’s supported by Indiana University. Lynn Coyne, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., challenged the idea that the county is dependent upon IU as a primary economic driver. He said there’s a local workforce of more than 62,000 people who make medical devices, car parts and other items not purchased by students.
Those companies have needs that must be met; needs that vary between large and small businesses, inside and outside city limits. Businesses listed parking meters, road construction, public safety, an insufficient pool of skilled workers and a lack of bipartisanship as reasons why it’s hard to open for business in the greater Bloomington area.