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In a post-pandemic economy, access to federal services is key for business growth

Federal services key for business growth

In a post-pandemic economy, access to federal services becomes crucial for fostering business growth. The federal government’s role in facilitating this growth through support and assistance is pivotal, necessitating easy accessibility, particularly in the context of a post-pandemic economy.

The Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) is dedicated to fostering the growth and development of its members within the region. However, the recent pandemic significantly impacted the global economy, causing a slowdown that directly affected local economies. Within the National Capital Region, RGA members encountered daily challenges and growth barriers, notably a lack of federal services and a decline in their customer base.

These elements are fundamental to the success of small and medium-sized businesses. Last fall, RGA took a leading role in urging the federal government to expedite the return of its workforce to downtown offices, recognizing its critical role in enabling downtown businesses to thrive once again.

Despite this, many RGA members continue to struggle with accessing necessary federal government services, including borrowing opportunities, grants, and technical assistance, crucial for their development. The complexity and bureaucracy associated with navigating federal programs often discourage businesses without adequate resources from applying, depriving them of essential programs vital to their well-being.

The absence of sufficient and accessible support from the federal government, coupled with a decrease in customers, has impeded growth within the membership.

These businesses often find themselves competing against national and international players, struggling to maintain a competitive edge. The unstable economy has resulted in decreased demand for their services and products, directly impacting their revenue and profits, essential for Ottawa’s economic transformation and growth.

Concrete federal actions aimed at fostering local economic growth by enhancing the accessibility of grants, loans, and assistance are imperative. Improved access to federal programs would enable businesses to proactively address growth barriers, allowing them to redirect resources into areas like training, marketing, and service enhancement.

Policymakers play a crucial role in tackling the root causes of these growth barriers, even minor actions like simplifying federal services and regulations could significantly enhance accessibility for small businesses, providing a substantial advantage to the local economy.

The impediments to business growth demand attention from both entrepreneurs and policymakers. Addressing these challenges necessitates concerted efforts between businesses and the government. Collaboration can establish a more supportive environment for businesses to flourish, leading to increased economic prosperity and opportunities within the National Capital Region.

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This article was submitted by Marc Chenier, former executive director of the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale. This piece first appeared in the 2023 Welch LLP Business Growth Survey, the city’s premiere survey and magazine that looks at business trends and confidence in the capital.

To download your own copy of the WBGS magazine, click here.