Business needs in spotlight

TOP boffins are set to undertake the largest-ever survey of Great Yarmouth's business needs aimed at taking the town's pulse at what could be a critical time in its economic history.

TOP boffins are set to undertake the largest-ever survey of

Great Yarmouth's business needs aimed at taking the town's pulse at what could be a critical time in its economic history.

Launched through the University of East Anglia, it is hoped the results, to be compiled this summer, will help the town shake off its “deprived” tag and add an “on the up” label.

A team comprising senior

academics and led by Prof Nikolas Tzokas, head of the Norwich School

of Business, is preparing a questionnaire which will be sent to all businesses.

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Research associate David Reynolds has compiled a database of 3,000 businesses, all of whom will receive a copy of the questionnaire, their answers helping to plot a course for the borough's future.

Mr Reynolds said there was plenty of research into the needs of the unemployed but little focusing on what businesses wanted, whether there was a skills gap and what skills were lacking.

“The university would like to

publish a couple of academic papers. Yarmouth is interesting because

there is sea on one side, marshland

on the other and a lot of people stay

and work in Yarmouth. It is almost

like a self-contained situation.”

He hopes the forms will drop on to doormats at the end of next month with the results being collated during August and presented to Legi (Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) - who commissioned the research - in September.

“We are at the stage where we are trying to inform people about it. If someone drops a questionnaire through your letterbox and you don't know anything about it you are likely to throw it away.

“It is an exciting time for Yarmouth and we do not know what we will find but we want to separate the truth from anecdotal evidence.

“If people say they are not planning to expand their businesses that can tell us a lot. If we find some common complaints we will hold focus

groups.

“The one thing I do appeal for is absolute honesty. We are really trying to get the truth.”

Legi programme manager Richard Percy, said: “We are trying to be a

bit more proactive in the way we provide services to business.

“We have an understanding of business needs in terms of economics and growth but we are trying to

verify whether that is still the

situation or if there are some unique features.”

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