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  • There's a Sizzle To the 'Red-Hot Rally' Membership Event

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 18, 2014
    Guest post by Fred Slater, Chamber vice president of member relations and growth

    You’ll be hearing from us! For two days, Dec. 9 and 10, we're conducting a high-energy, fun and even a bit crazy membership campaign. During this two-day period, more than 100 volunteers will work against the clock and against each other to sign up new Chamber members and create a greater community awareness of the important role of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The event is organized by Jimmy Cusano with Your Chamber Connection, and his entertaining style will keep the campaign lively and exciting. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with Nashville’s business influencers, teams will engage in a competitive showdown to recruit new members.

    “It’s about business,” said Cusano. “The Chamber of Commerce is the business community. When others hear about everything the Chamber does, all of a sudden you have a great deal of enthusiasm for the Chamber and a great deal of support.”

    According to an article in TIME magazine, Nashville is the "South’s Red-Hot Town." This "Red-Hot Rally" will fire up our volunteers to reach out to their contact base with the goal of growing our regional business voice while diversifying our membership. Following this ...
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    Category: General
    Tags: membership
  • The NEXT Awards: The Past, Present and Future of Entrepreneurship in Music City

    by Stephanie Coleman | Nov 18, 2014
    Guest post by Clark Buckner, online events manager, TechnologyAdvice

    The annual NEXT Awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in Music City, recognizing businesses and individuals that are leading innovation in Middle Tennessee.

    Many of this year’s finalists gathered for the NEXT Awards Finalists Celebration at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, where I interviewed them for a podcast about the biggest trends and challenges in Nashville’s entrepreneurial growth.

    Nashville’s NEXT Awards

    The NEXT Awards ceremony is one of the largest events of the year for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, which partners with the Entrepreneur Center (EC) in making the event come to life. Corey Davis, the Chamber’s director of business growth initiatives, says it is also one of its most meaningful. “The Chamber wants to help the Nashville business community any way we can. We want Nashville to grow, and partnering with the EC to highlight companies that are the future of Nashville is a great way to help encourage that,” he said.

    NEXT Awards are presented to companies in five industries across three categories based on their stage of growth: startup (small companies), growth (mid-sized companies) and market mover (large companies). Davis is excited about the natural progression of ...

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  • Member Spotlight - ONEHOPE Wine

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 17, 2014
    Q: What makes ONEHOPE Wine different from other wine companies?
    A: ONEHOPE Wine donates half its profits to charity! Our award-winning wine, produced with Rob Mondavi, Jr., gives back with every single bottle purchased.

    Q: What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?
    A: Middle Tennesseans are givers! There is a strong sense of philanthropy in this town, and everyone wants to find ways to help one another and give back. ONEHOPE Wine is one easy way to do that.

    Q: What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?
    A: Networking and connections - talking about ONEHOPE Wine and sharing with people about this amazing opportunity to give back through their purchase.

    Q: What's your biggest goal for your company in the next year?
    A: To have ONEHOPE Wine become the wine of choice for everyone when it comes to personal enjoyment, corporate giving, gifting and events. I want to see Middle Tennesseans embrace this simple way to impact our community and the world!

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    Category: General
  • Hong Kong Economic and Trade Officials Visit Nashville

    by Lori Odom | Nov 14, 2014
    Steve Barclay, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), made his first trip to Nashville this week. Based in New York, he is responsible for promoting and strengthening the business, trade and cultural ties between Hong Kong and 31 eastern states of the United States.

    Barclay was appointed in August of this year. He has served in a wide variety of posts within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, with policy responsibilities including consumer protection, intellectual property, housing and environmental protection. Most recently, Barclay served as director of the HKETO in Sydney, Australia.

    Along with meeting Chamber leadership, Barclay’s visit to Nashville included attending the Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development and speaking engagements at Vanderbilt and Lipscomb.

    Hong Kong-owned companies account for approximately 200 jobs in the Nashville MSA and a state trade relationship valued at more than $292 million.

    L-R: Gene Hanratty of the Hong Kong Information Center Atlanta and Steve Barclay

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  • Member Spotlight - Infintech

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 10, 2014
    Ryan Rybolt, president, Infintech

    Q: What is unique about Infintech?
    A: Infintech is unique in our commitment to transparent pricing and superior customer support. The merchant processing industry has been plagued by misleading pricing tactics and absentee support after the sale. From the beginning, our goal has been simple: attract customers and never lose them. The Better Business Bureau recently recognized our 10 years of integrity by awarding us their highest honor – the 2014 Torch Award. We’re very proud of this recognition because it validates our core principles.

    Q: What's your biggest goal for your company in the next year?
    A: As we approach our 10th anniversary, we feel it’s time to complete an audit that will reveal the strengths and opportunities in our business practices. This audit will inform our strategic plan, which we will begin to execute in the new fiscal year. Our findings are giving us confidence to invest in several areas of business, focusing on business-to-business card acceptance and growth in key regions – including Nashville.

    Q: How do you define success?
    A: As a small business owner who makes countless decisions each day, I define success as making more right decisions than wrong and never ...
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    Category: General
  • Leadership is Key to Improving Postsecondary Attainment Rates

    by Laura Moore | Nov 06, 2014
    Last month, Wilson County’s Director of Schools Donna Wright posed an important question to a group of educators, business leaders, and state officials from throughout the region. “We have a graduation rate to take pride in, but what does it mean when they exit?” she asked. “Once we get them into college, technical schools, whatever it might be, how do we keep them there so they graduate?”

    Wright, who took over at the helm of the district’s schools in July, has put a stake in the ground on at least the first part of her own question. She has been a big proponent of Tennessee Promise, Gov. Haslam’s initiative to provide free community college and technical education to all graduating high school seniors. Over the last several weeks, Wright has been encouraging seniors in her county’s high schools to apply for the program. As a result, every eligible student at each of the county’s four high schools applied for the program by the state’s Nov. 1 deadline.

    Wright’s work is just one example of a larger fact about what it will take to ensure Middle Tennessee has the workers necessary to fill a projected workforce deficit of 35,000 workers by ...
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  • Tennessee Tops the Nation for 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Job Commitments

    by Lori Odom | Nov 04, 2014
    In 2013, Tennessee received more job commitments from foreign-owned companies than any other state in the nation. Take a minute and let that sink in. Nearly 40 percent of new jobs committed to Tennessee last year came from companies with foreign ownership – the same statistic applying to announced jobs in the Nashville area for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. To put some examples behind that stat, remember this short list of investments from 2013: South Korean-owned Hankook Tire Co., Swiss-owned UBS and Japanese-owned Calsonic Kansei North America accounted for 4,000 total job commitments and more than $946 million in capital investment.

    The ability to generate international investment is a sign of vitality and confidence in a region’s performance. Workforce, location, transportation, regulatory environment, incentive programs, and strong supplier and customer networks are all essential components of attracting global investment. Starting with Ireland’s The Trane Company in the 1960s, to Japan’s Toshiba in the 1970s, Bridgestone and Nissan in the 1980s, U.K’s Willis in the 1990s and on through the investments of recent years, the Nashville region has successfully proven to be a strong draw for foreign investors.

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  • J.F. Kennedy Middle Prep Impresses VIP Tour Guests

    by Rita McDonald | Nov 04, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors are hosting four Middle Prep VIP Tours in the 2014-2015 school year to introduce the redesigned Middle Preps to the community, and to share how the schools' vision, mission and values are aligned with the MNPS Strategic Plan. We recently held our second tour at J.F. Kennedy Middle Prep. Principal Sam Braden discussed the focus of the school, which is teaming/music. After the briefing, seven student ambassadors led more than 40 business and community leaders, elected officials and realtors on an informative tour of their school.

    Guests witnessed students engaged in all classes; they were amazed to see sixth-grade math classes adding and subtracting algebraic equations. Our VIP tour participants were further astounded to see students immersed in a simulated "Black Friday Fun Day," where they calculated sales tax and discounts.

    As the group moved on to a physical science class, guests were impressed with the students in their lab coats as they created "elephant toothpaste," an experiment demonstrating a chemical reaction of yeast and hydrogen peroxide. Before exiting J.F. Kennedy, VIPs were wowed by the music department. The fifth- and sixth-grade choir sang an ...
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    Category: Education
  • Regional Chambers Urge State to Reconsider School Funding

    by Marc Hill | Nov 03, 2014
    Last week, Tennessee’s four regional chambers, representing Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, urged the state to consider the unique financial challenges facing the state’s four largest public school systems. The message was delivered to a special task force appointed by Gov. Haslam to study the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP) funding formula.

    The BEP formula, implemented in 1992 and last revised in 2007, generates a funding allocation to local school systems, with the state and local contributions adjusted based on each county’s “fiscal capacity,” or ability to raise tax revenues. The fiscal capacity calculation causes the state’s four largest school districts to rely disproportionately on local funding to adequately resource their districts, despite serving a higher population of at-risk and special-needs students.

    The task force will meet again in November to develop common principles around how the funding formula should be changed. The full text of the letter from the Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis chambers can be found below. The letter was sent Oct. 20 and read to the group on Oct. 27.

    October 20, 2014
    To the members of the BEP Task Force:

    We are writing to you today representing the business community in the four largest metropolitan ...
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    Category: Education
  • Protecting Your Data - What's the Big Deal?

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 03, 2014
    Guest post by Brig. Gen. Brad Pray, USAF (ret.), Axios, LLC

    What's the big deal about protecting your data? Your data is your lifeblood, and too many businesspeople don't realize that until it's too late. It may be your company's key intellectual property. If it's compromised, it negatively impacts your bottom line. It may be sensitive client or patient data that could lead to embarrassment if publicly released. It could be a key manufacturing or supply-chain process that could give away your market advantage if released.

    In each case, your data was compromised because you didn't have the proper defensive strategy in place to protect your organization's "crown jewels."

    So what can you do?

    Don't expect your IT professionals to have all of the answers. They need help from the key executives in operations, finance, human resources and strategic planning. Your team has to determine together where to concentrate your limited cybersecurity and information surety resources. You cannot protect everything, so determine what is most vital to your organization. In military terms, this is your key cyber-terrain.

    Don't put your head in the sand. Of course, you need strong technical personnel, but you also need strong leadership at the top ...
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    Category: General