As the end of our 2011-2012 program year draws near, the Chamber would like to share a recap highlighting our major initiatives and accomplishments. We had a busy year supporting the business community through a variety of important services. From online services and advocacy programs to membership meetings and networking events, our efforts, as always, were focused on growing our regional economy and meeting the needs of our members. Below are some of the highlights from the past 12 months.
- From July 2011 to May 2012, Middle Tennessee has welcomed the highest number of relocating and expanding companies since 2001.
- 119 announced relocations & expansions, including Amazon, General Motors, HCA, Viacom, LifePoint Hospitals, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw & Pittman, Bank of New York Mellon and Saks Fifth Avenue
- 10,819 new jobs created
- $1.39 billion in capital investment
- The Chamber's Partnership 2020 was ranked among the top 10 economic development groups in the U.S. by Site Selection magazine.
- The Chamber engaged volunteers through the Business Conditions Council, Prosperity Leaders Council, IT Recruitment Advisory Group, Report Card Committee and Redevelopment Task Force. Our committee work happens throughout the year and is one of the most important ways we fulfill our mission. To learn how you can get involved, register for our Pick Your Place event in August.
- In May, we led more than 100 community leaders to Portland, Oregon, on the 21st annual Leadership Study Mission. This year's trip also included the first-ever Transit Study Mission, which traveled to nearby Eugene, Oregon to examine the city's mass-transit options. The goal of both trips was to inspire ideas for community improvement in Nashville.
- In February, we launched Business Voice, an online advocacy tool that gives members the opportunity to view legislation the Chamber is tracking on their behalf and send direct messages to their elected representatives to influence policy and legislation. This tool also provides a reporting mechanism that allows the Chamber to measure the impact made through its advocacy efforts. So far, Chamber members have sent more than 1,300 individual messages to their elected officials on issues that impact business.
- The Chamber was part of a community coalition that supported the new Metro budget, which was recently passed by Metro Council. The budget includes increased funding for schools, public safety and expansion of Nashville's public transit system -- all of which align with priorities identified by Chamber members in our annual issues survey.
- The Chamber advocated for business-friendly legislation through the most recent session of the 107th General Assembly. The outcome was a state legislative session that was generally favorable to the region’s business community. Legislation that will positively impact business includes a phase-out of the state’s inheritance tax, expansion of the FastTrack economic development program, expansion of tax increment financing to be used for private economic development projects, further definition of the state’s unemployment laws and a continued push for education reform.
- On June 11, finalists for the sixth annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs) were announced, honoring 75 young professionals in 15 different industry classifications. The NELAs program was created by YP Nashville and the Chamber as a way to recognize young professionals’ significant accomplishments in their chosen professional field, as well as their commitment and contribution to the community. The awards ceremony will be held July 26 at Lipscomb University’s Collins Alumni Auditorium.
- The Chamber's entrepreneurial initiative is designed to facilitate stronger communication, collaboration, support, and a unified brand for the existing public / private entities that foster our region's entrepreneurial community. By combining the efforts of these disparate brands under a larger umbrella, our collective focus grants access to resources that, independently, we are unable to attain, e.g. The Kauffman Foundation. Our aim is to transition Nashville into a top-tier innovation and entrepreneurial hub – providing Middle Tennessee with a larger talent pool, a more engaged entrepreneurial community, additional jobs and economic prosperity.
- On August 2, Nashville voters will elect five of the nine members of the Metropolitan Board of Education. Friends of Metro Schools, with the support of community partners Stand for Children, Metro Nashville Education Association, the Chamber and the Interdenominational Ministers' Fellowship, held School Board Candidate Forums throughout June for each of the five school board districts with an open seat this election season.
- The Chamber staffs and manages six Academies of Nashville Partnership Councils, with participation from more than 100 area companies, to help guide the work of Metro's Academies of Nashville and ensure they are maintaining a concentration on college and career readiness. During the last week of March and the first week of April, the six Partnership Councils convened for their final meetings of the 2011-2012 school year.
Of course, none of our accomplishments would be possible without the support of our members. Thank you for your membership investment, which helps us achieve our mission of facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity. Looking ahead to the new program year, which begins July 1, we will build upon these achievements and continue to support the Nashville-area business community.