Over 175 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Northeastern Ontario region benefited from the BEAM initiative. NEOnet conducted a survey of participants and found the following:
- Participating businesses directly contributed over $300,000 to the local economy in addition the funding provided by FedNor
- 44% of participants have experienced an increase of 10% in the number inquiries made about services and products, and additional 44% have experienced an increase of 20%, and the remainder experiencing an increase over 30%
- 27% of participants have experienced sales increases between 10 and 20%, with 6% indicating a sales increase of over 40% – the projected increase in total revenue by participants is approximately over $2.5 million.
- 17% of participants have hired new employees to meet increased demand and/or to assist in the maintenance of the website – an additional 33% have increased the hours of existing employees – approximately 10 FTEs including new employees hired by the web developers in the catchment area
- 83% of the participants would not have developed or improved their web presence without the support of the BEAM initiative
It should be noted that these figures have been extrapolated from the responses provided by 10% of the initiative participants and nearly 50% of the completed projects approved during the BEAM initiative. While some variance will occur over the long run the figures are still staggering considering that the influx of financial capital in the region is estimated to be more than 8 to 10 times the contribution made by FedNor ($500,000).
Due the success of the initiative NEOnet has requested additional funding from FedNor to support a second round of the BEAM initiative. NEOnet anticipates a response in September 2012.