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  • Education Committee Members Learn About Charter Schools

    by Rita McDonald | Nov 23, 2015

    educationcommitteenovemberThe Chamber's Education Committee recently reconvened for their second meeting of the 2015-2016 school year. Laura Moore, Chamber VP of policy, shared information from the education portion of the 2015 Nashville Region's Vital Signs Report, released in October. Highlights included:

    • Residents with a high school education or less were three times more likely to have trouble affording basic needs over the last year.
    • Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents in the joint Nashville-Clarksville region felt they had adequate education and training to advance their career.
    • Seventy-three percent of survey respondents said having information about their options would make them more likely to pursue additional education.
    • In Davidson County, 52.5 percent of students enroll in postsecondary education after graduating from high school. Statewide, that number is 57.2 percent.

    Alan Coverstone, MNPS executive officer of charter schools, shared the authorization process for charter schools, which are public schools that operate under a contract, or charter, with the school board to operate within Nashville's school district. Charter schools in Nashville are subject to annual review by the school board, and are required to provide detailed academic performance records demonstrating improvement on student test scores, among other metrics. They also must provide their financial performance ...

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    Category: Education
  • The Nashville Health Care Council at 20: Where We've Been, Where We're Headed

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 23, 2015
    Guest post by Hayley Hovious, president, Nashville Health Care Council

    The Nashville Health Care Council has spent the past several months celebrating a significant milestone: the 20th anniversary of our organization’s founding.

    This event has given us an important opportunity to reflect on the legacy of our city’s health care leadership, dating back almost 50 years. It has also provided us the chance to highlight the role Nashville serves as the nation’s health care industry capital, and also to recognize and support the crucial part our member organizations play — and will continue to play — in shaping a smarter health care system for tomorrow.

    When HCA launched its operations out of a small house in midtown Nashville in 1968, its founders recognized they were in a special place, surrounded by a wellspring of entrepreneurial energy, a robust infrastructure, and a group of forward-looking city officials and investors who believed in Nashville. They knew change was coming, but they never could have foreseen the transformation this city, and the American health care system, would experience in the decades to come.

    Today, our city and industry again find themselves ripe for change. I am constantly inspired by the sheer number of ...

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  • Middle Tennessee's Business Stars Shine at the NEXT Awards

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 19, 2015

    A diverse cross-section of Nashville's most innovative companies and business leaders were honored Nov. 19 at the fifth annual NEXT Awards, a celebration of Nashville’s fastest-growing businesses co-hosted by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

    As Middle Tennessee continues to be one of the hottest economies in the country, the NEXT Awards have grown every year, and the competition gets tougher. Awards are presented in five business categories at three stages of development: startup, growth and market mover. In addition, individual awards were given for Entrepreneurial Partner of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year.

    The winners of the 2015 NEXT Awards are:
    • Entrepreneurial Partner of the Year – Launch Tennessee
    • Young Entrepreneurs of the Year – Channing Moreland & Makenzie Stokel, Evamore
    • Entrepreneur of the Year – Sherry Deutschmann, founder, LetterLogic
    • Startup (digital media and entertainment) – Talkapolis
    • Startup (health care) – MEDarchon
    • Startup (products and services) – Batch Nashville
    • Startup (social enterprise and sustainability) – PRO Employment, a social enterprise by Project Return
    • Startup (technology) – Overdog
    • Growth (digital media and entertainment) – StyleBlueprint, LLC
    • Growth (health care) – Provider Trust, Inc.
    • Growth (products and services) – A ...
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    Tags: NEXT Awards
  • Reflecting on the 2015 Freshman Career Exploration Fair

    by Rita McDonald | Nov 18, 2015
    Guest post by DeeGee Lester, director of education, The Parthenon

    For companies and organizations across the city, the annual "My Future, My Way" Freshman Career Exploration Fair provides an opportunity to connect with MNPS students and schools. Through fun and engaging booths and activities, businesses are able to touch young lives, stir student curiosity about all that is available for them over the next four years, and, in many cases, to ignite passion for a career pathway. As we actively participate in influencing their future, we take positive steps in building the future of Nashville.

    As an iconic symbol of Nashville, the Parthenon is committed to playing a significant role in the education of every child – from pre-K through high school and beyond. We are delighted to have been involved in the career fair for several years, recognizing that it is a potential "tipping point" in the education of so many of our students. With that in mind, we want to do everything possible to make their fair experience positive and successful.

    I am always pleased by how many of the 7,000+ MNPS freshmen who attend the fair later point to one interactive display or one in-depth conversation with ...
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    Category: Education
  • Member Spotlight - Nashville IDD Housing Group

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 16, 2015

    Q: What is the mission of Nashville IDD Housing Group?
    A: The crisis of affordable housing, especially within metropolitan areas, is heightened for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (“friends”), a fragile population that is growing here and across the country. The Nashville IDD Housing Group facilitates affordable housing in an interdependent setting where friends are provided with a built-in community comprised of graduate students. In this environment, collaboration brings possibility: the friends teach future leaders about disability, and the students provide friendship and support. Because our friends are employed, they become an active part of the community, allowing the rest of us to celebrate the many gifts they have to offer. In addition to partnering with small businesses, we partner with families, faith communities, city officials and other organizations to create new and innovative housing options, opportunities which otherwise would not exist.

    Q: How can Nashville-area businesses help your nonprofit?
    A: Businesses can help our work in a variety of ways:

    1. by becoming one of our donors, or by championing our cause by making us the beneficiary of a fundraising event;
    2. by providing training and/or internships and/or paid employment for the young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who ...
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    Category: General
  • Wire Transfer Fraud Scheme Continues, Compromising Business Email Accounts

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 10, 2015
    Courtesy of Atiba

    The FBI, Financial Services Information Sharing & Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and U.S. Secret Service have issued an important fraud alert.

    U.S. businesses continue to fall victim to an increasingly common scheme, originally reported this past summer. This scheme is a type of payment fraud, using legitimate business email accounts for the purpose of conducting unauthorized wire transfers. If you have been contacted to conduct a wire transfer, extra measures are advisable to ensure this is a legitimate and authorized request.

    The FBI encourages incorporating the following measures to protect your company:
    • Verify any change in payment instructions to vendors or suppliers by calling or verbally confirming the request (do not verify validity via email).
    • Maintain a file (preferably in a non-electronic format) of vendor/supplier contact information and authorized contacts.
    • Limit the number of employees who have authority to approve wire transfers.
    • View the complete risk mitigation list here.
    For more details on this potential risk and what to do if you are impacted, see the official FBI warning alert.

    If you are directly impacted or experience any security or service issues, please feel free to call us at 615-353-1921, extension 1.
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  • Partnership 2020 Receives National Recognition as Top Economic Development Group

    by Courtney Ross | Nov 10, 2015
    The past few months have been an especially busy time for the Chamber's economic development team, as Middle Tennessee continues its growth trajectory.

    The Chamber received recognition as a top economic development organization at the International Economic Development Council’s recent annual conference. Our Partnership 2020 team was honored for most jobs created and most capital investment announced for a community in North America by population size, based on the results of an economic development benchmarking survey conducted by Atlas Advertising.

    Since July 1, more than 40 companies have announced expansions or relocations in Middle Tennessee. Highlights include:
    • Peer-to-peer ridesharing company Lyft is locating a new regional headquarters in downtown Nashville. The San Francisco-based mobile app and transportation company will invest $5.1 million and create 380 new jobs in Davidson County.

    • Sinomax Group will locate new manufacturing operations in La Vergne. Sinomax, a foam products manufacturer and distributor, will invest $28 million and create 350 jobs, the largest jobs commitment made from a Chinese-owned company in Tennessee's history.

    • Wonderful Group, a tile and ceramics manufacturer, has selected Lebanon as the site of its first U.S. operations. The company plans to invest $150 million and create 220 new jobs in Wilson County. ...
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  • Member Spotlight - Dollywood

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 03, 2015

    Q: Everyone knows Dollywood is famous for Dolly Parton, but a lot has changed since the park began. Tell us about Dollywood of 2015! 
    A: Dollywood has grown a lot over the 30 seasons of the park. We have evolved into a park that not only celebrates the Great Smoky Mountains through its award-winning shows, food and crafts, but also features some of the best roller coasters and rides in our industry. I’ll bet you did not know that Dollywood is the most honored theme park in the world over the last decade, including the Applause Award for the best park in the world. We are the reigning Golden Ticket holder for Best Shows, Best Christmas Event and Friendliest Park. 

    Q: Could you tell us about the different properties at Dollywood?
    A: Dollywood includes the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the award-winning, 35-acre, Dollywood’s Splash Country water park; Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins; Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction; and the incredible new 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Dollywood offers weekend getaways or even longer vacations with all of our properties. You can also use our lodging options as a home base for your family to experience the Great Smoky Mountains.

    Q: November ...
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    Category: General
  • New Program Expands Services For Middle TN Small Businesses

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 29, 2015

    In September, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce was awarded a $218,000 contract through the Small Business Administration for the ScaleUp America program. One of only seven cities selected this year, the Nashville MSA has more than 37,000 small businesses. These businesses have passed the startup phase, but frequently lack access to support services and resources.

    ScaleUp Nashville will provide two cohorts of small business owners each year with a community of fellow leaders that will help spark and direct growth. Each cohort will participate in 12 weeks of classes, receive an analysis of their companies' finances, have access to mentoring and area-specific focus groups, networking with and connections to local business leaders, and membership to the Refinery and Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

    Program partners Entrepreneur Center, Pathway Lending and Refinery will help shape and guide participating businesses’ growth. As more partners join, the network of resources will expand. The first group of participants will help shape the program for the long term, as it grows into a community of business leaders and a symbol of growth.

    ScaleUp Nashville is accepting applications until Dec. 4 for its first cohort of small business owners. Because this is a new program, this application ...

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  • The NEXT Awards: Celebrating Nashville's Inspirational Innovators

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 28, 2015

    Guest post by Mark Cleveland, NEXT Awards 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year

    I attended the 2013 NEXT Awards celebration as a guest of Lipscomb University, and it was an absolutely inspirational experience. In the hallway, I congratulated my friend Scott Snoyer, owner of Brand Imaging Group, who was gripping a NEXT award for the Products & Services/Growth category, crediting his team and wearing a big smile. One year later, walking on stage to accept the Entrepreneur of the Year accolade at the 2014 NEXT Awards was one of the proudest, most heart-pounding moments of my career.

    I know what it's like to be compelled to build the "next big thing" or the next "small giant" – and I appreciate that the NEXT Awards are all about celebrating entrepreneurship.

    You can see the amazing diversity in the "gene pool" of the Nashville entrepreneur. This DNA is unique and gives birth to a certain "Nashville attitude" which has become one of our core competitive advantages. Whether these company founders are veteran business leaders or still in college, they are part of this highly contagious, creative collective. Southern hospitality is infectious, and no matter where you’re from, something about Tennessee brings out the ...
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