MEDB Census Workshop Proved It’s All in the Numbers

Oct 7, 2015

Anyone who says they’re not into numbers probably didn’t attend Maui Economic Development Board’s workshop, “Just the Facts: Using U.S. Census Demographic Data to Build a Business Plan.” Led by featured speaker is Jerry Wong, Data Dissemination Specialist for the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles Region, workshop attendees got a hands-on look at three new apps available from the U.S. Census Bureau – online resources that giving small businesses and entrepreneurs the edge they need in exploring the demographics of potential markets.

  • The Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition allows small-business owners a way to easily navigate to and use key demographic and economic date to guide their research into opening a new or expanding their existing business.
  • The Census Reporter provides a massive amount of data about the American people, covering topics from demographics to poverty rates to educational attainment, and at geographical levels ranging from the entire county down to city blocks. The goal of this online resource is to make it easier for journalists to write stories using Census data.
  • OnTheMap is an online mapping and reporting application that shows where people work and live.

While the workshop provided just a glimpse of the data and surveys available through the U.S. Census Bureau, the underlying message for all business owners and entrepreneurs was that having accurate data and demographics of potential markets can ultimately put one on the road to success.
“When looking at a market, particularly for market research, it is incumbent upon the entrepreneur, the business person, and the planner to look at accurate sources of data – information that is reliable and frequently released,” said Wong. “The primary source of data is the U.S. Census Bureau, because that is our business providing and serving as our nation’s fact finder. Whether looking for information on age, sex, education attainment, income, or information about a particular geography or population group; thousands and thousands of questions for which data are needed are available online. And, the best part is, people can have access to this data 24/7 and it’s free.”
Amongst the information provided by Wong was a handout on “50 Ways Census Data Are Used.”
The “Just the Facts: Using U.S. Census Demographic Data to Build a Business Plan,” workshop was sponsored by the County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The workshop was part of MEDB’s Technical Assistance Series, a grassroots effort to help small businesses establish strong systems, processes, tools, and best practices to build a solid foundation for success.