Ambitious project aims to gather comprehensive economic data on Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Ambitious project aims to gather comprehensive economic data on Nevada County

Mary Owens — although she has passed on the torch of chair for Nevada County Economic Resource Council to Grass Valley councilman Jason Fouyer — is not slowing down in her work with the council.

If anything, Owens will be more enmeshed in a vital role for the next two years at least, by her estimate; she is spearheading an ambitious new project to develop a comprehensive economic database, broken down by business sector.

"We want to gather key economic metrics for each sector," Owens said, with information including, for example, the number and type of employees, type of product and where is it sold.

All of the data will be confidential, she said, and will be entered "blind." Once compiled, the data will be available to the public on a sector basis, but not on an individual business basis.

"This will help us drive better initiative planning for the ERC," Owens said. "Tell us your challenges — is it talent? Is it financing? Is it marketing?"

In the future, businesses can update their answers to the survey online, she said.

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"It's a huge project," Owens said. "I'm very excited to get on this and get this done. There's never been anything I've been more excited about."

Owens said the main thrust of the project will be to leverage the information gathered. She has been recruiting leaders in each sector to help head up the data-gathering, saying the project is in the early formation stage.

"Imagine, if we can see one sector really growing — or shrinking — we can delve into that and help (businesses) overcome challenges," she said. "The most important thing is for the ERC to be effective."

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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