Rebecca worked on this comprehensive research project, contracted by the City of Austin Small Business Partnership.
The Needs Assessment Study participants included 1,018 online surveys, 105 in focus groups and 15 intensive phone interviews. 53% of respondents were woman-owned and 24% were minority-owned. A startling 75% reported 5 or fewer employees. We collected responses from every single zip code in Austin so every City Council District is represented. 48% of respondents have been in business 10 years or longer. The themes that carried this study were personal connectivity, hands-on experience, vision-enabling and quality of value. These should be used as filters or lens through which to view all offerings of classes and resources.
While the majority of responses were obtained through the online survey, the focus groups were perhaps the most revealing. The focus group format allowed us to probe answers and included an exchange of dialogue that an online survey simply cannot accommodate. But the dialogue in the focus groups wasn’t just between participants and moderators, it was between participants as well. This level of communication became a trending theme throughout answers in all modes of data collection.