BORDER business confidence is growing and the use of digital technology soaring, a survey shows.
The fifth annual Albury-Wodonga local business survey has shown a 15 per cent rise in app software use and an 11 per cent jump in cloud computing.
Facebook use is up 8 per cent and online advertising by 7 per cent.
Albury Council economic development director Tracey Squire said it was “very significant” that Border businesses were feeling optimistic.
“The fact is that the business outlook for the next 12 months and the next two years is stronger than it has been in the past five years,” she said.
Ms Squire said it seemed likely the promise of the federal Coalition being elected was a strong part of that optimism.
“Certainly based on the feedback in the survey the uncertainty in relation to the Labor government was an ongoing concern that was being expressed repeatedly,” she said.
“There’s a level of optimism that a change in government would drive economic growth and opportunities, which is a positive.”
The survey is a joint initiative of the Albury- Wodonga Corporation and the Albury and Wodonga councils.
Ms Squire said to see an 11 per cent rise in areas such as cloud computing in one year was also significant.
Cloud computing is a description for network-based services that appear to be provided by real server hardware.
But these services are actually served up by virtual hardware, simulated by software running on one or more real machines.
“I think it’s promising from a local economic development perspective that people are embracing the digital economy,” Ms Squire said.
“But clearly the survey also shows there are a number of barriers to expanding their online presence and digital activity.
“As a community we need to work together to help those businesses overcome those barriers and increase their activity.”
Ms Squire said the key issue was the time, effort and perceived cost of implementing new systems.
“They feel they’ve got a lack of information, training or technological expertise,” she said.
Ms Squire said the Border business climate had definitely been strengthening over the past three to four months, reflected in business inquiries.
“There does seem to be a shift or a swing, which is positive looking forward.”
Seventeen per cent of businesses expect to increase their staff numbers in the next year, while 38 per cent experienced an increase in business profitability.
Also, 52 per cent of businesses plan on making a capital investment in the next 12 months.
A total of 501 businesses employing 7634 people completed the survey.