Lismore is the business capital

THE data is in and the conclusion irrefutable.

Despite the growth of Ballina and Casino, Lismore remains the economic powerhouse of the Northern Rivers.

The biggest survey of Lismore-based businesses has revealed the crown of the region’s capital rightly rests with Lismore.

“It does reinforce the fact that Lismore is definitely the regional capital,” Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell said.

The Business Retention and Expansion Survey revealed most Lismore businesses are not dependent on the Lismore Local Government Area to generate income, but rather using the area’s business infrastructure to sell further afield.

It found only a third of Lismore-based businesses and 33% of Nimbin-based companies said they generated more than 80% of their revenue from within Lismore LGA and an astonishing one in 10 companies said it didn’t generate any revenue.

“This partly reflects the role of Lismore as a regional, rather than a local, business centre,” Derek Kemp, who wrote a report Prosperous Places based on the survey, said.

The $90,000 survey, jointly funded by Lismore City Council and the Department of Investment and Industry NSW, was sent to 1426 businesses within Lismore City Council’s footprint, with a response rate of 32%.

Cr Dowell said the results confirmed companies recognised Lismore as a business hub with its legal, banking and business advice sectors, as well as good infrastructure from telecommunications to transport.

“It shows that businesses recognise Lismore is the centre for the region and this is a good place for businesses exporting their products,” she said.

“It also provided a positive view among business, more positive than I suspected.”

It found that 93% found no negative aspects of locating in Lismore, with businesses highlighting local customer loyalty, quality of life and good telecommunications.

“One of the surprises was that businesses are selling their goods and services to a much wider area than the immediate area, but they are doing their purchases within the LGA,” Cr Dowell said.

“This means they are buying local and the only thing that are making them look outside the area is when things aren’t available here.”

She said the results of the survey would allow council and business to identify gaps in the local market that could be filled in the future, creating new jobs.

The survey was supported by Lismore Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday vice-president Jon Patterson said the results showed businesses where well served by the city and its business infrastructure.

“Banking, financial, retail, eduction and health services in Lismore provide businesses with broad, in-depth, quality assistance,” he said.

“It true to say Lismore is the region’s economic powerhouse.”

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