New North business leaders are seeing the benefits of collaboration, according to a new survey by Nicolet National Bank. As part of its quarterly Business Pulse survey of area businesses, Nicolet Bank asked business leaders several questions related to the New North. At the end of 2009’s first quarter, 74 percent of CEOs and business owners said collaboration among businesses is important. Breaking the numbers down, 21 percent said collaboration in the current economic climate is very important, while 21 percent said moderately important and 32 percent responded somewhat important.
“Collaboration is certainly a regional attribute that shows itself in much of the work being orchestrated by New North’s task groups,” says New North, Inc. Executive Director Jerry Murphy. “I think the region’s propensity for a unique combination of both self-sufficiency and collaboration is a function of its experiences in problem solving around long standing regional economic sectors – manufacturing and agriculture.”
New North’s efforts to focus on targeted industry clusters, such as the wind industry, to grow the region’s economy are also seen as a success with 43 percent saying the effort is somewhat successful, 13 percent saying it’s moderately successful and 2 percent calling the effort very successful. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they were not sure of the program’s success.
For the Boldt Company of Appleton, participating in the wind industry cluster has been beneficial, says Bob DeKoch, Boldt’s president and chief operating officer and New North co-chair. Although Boldt was active in the wind sector prior to the creation of the cluster, he says being a part of the group has been a huge advantage.
“The access to trade shows as a group has increased our visibility and we have also benefited from sharing leads and ideas that have been helpful,” DeKoch says. “The promotional and marketing visibility from a group like this is wonderful. We hope to take the successes we’ve had with this cluster and try it in other areas.”
When it comes to key economic issues, business leaders say job retention is very important at 72 percent, while 62 percent said job growth is very important. Meanwhile, 46 percent of business owners said attracting top talent to the New North was very important.