April 29, 2020

SIU’s Research Park is surveying businesses about pandemic impact

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Research Park is conducting a brief online survey asking businesses throughout a five-county region how the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home directives and other changes enacted to combat the spread of the virus are impacting them and what can be done to help.

Getting an accurate picture

Statistics and information from around the state and the country are floating around online but SIU’s Innovation and Economic Development office staff want to get a true picture of the impact on businesses in the region, according to Lynn Andersen Lindberg, executive director. The data will be utilized in helping to prepare programs and initiatives to help businesses.

“It is no secret that businesses throughout the country have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Although a number of surveys have been conducted by national organizations to measure this affect, rural areas like Southern Illinois are not typically well represented in these reports,” Deborah Barnett, SIU Research Park associate director, said. “We believe that it is not only important to have access to the national data and trends, but also to understand the needs that might be unique to our region so those needs can be addressed in the most effective way possible. In other words, we believe Southern Illinois has its own unique story, and we feel a responsibility to help tell that story.”

Short survey for five counties

The brief online survey is open to all companies located within Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry and Williamson counties. Included are independent contractors, local companies, national company franchises, retailers, restaurants, industry, home-based businesses, utilities, mines, arts/entertainment/recreation and all other kinds of enterprises.

The confidential survey includes 21 questions and takes just a few minutes to complete. It includes general background information such as the number of employees and length of time in business along with questions regarding how the pandemic has affected business operations in terms of furloughs, lay-offs, and changes in operations. The survey concludes with questions regarding what resources survey takers have sought, what help they may be interested in and how SIU’s innovation and economic development staff can help.

Access survey online

Find the survey at siucpsyc.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dbg2v1dyAdMCudn or on the SIU Research Park website. The deadline to complete the survey is noon on Monday, May 4.

“The more businesses that we can reach through the survey, the more complete a picture that we can provide to local, state, and federal stakeholders about what's happening in Southern Illinois,” Lindberg said. “This is our opportunity to spread the word about our region's businesses and share the many successes and challenges that are being experienced today.”

Survey results are completely confidential and but will be compiled in aggregate. Business owners who take the survey have the option to get a copy of the survey results and report and additional information about services available through the Research Park and Illinois Small Business Development Center.

For more information about the survey, the Innovation and Economic Development office or the numerous services it offers, contact Lindberg at lindberg@siu.edu or 618/453-6754.