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The Role of Rankings in Economic Development

by Janet Miller | Nov 21, 2011
In a recent poll on harrisinteractive.com, Nashville and Tennessee both ranked within the top 20 locations people say they would most like to live. This is more great publicity for our city, region and state, and confirms what a lot of folks have been saying about Nashville.

This ranking ties in to all four of the strategic drivers outlined in our Partnership 2020 economic development strategy, which are economic diversity, talent development, quality of place/livability, and regionalism. Highlighting the benefits of living in this great city attracts people – which, in turn, attracts strong companies and creates an ideal environment for start-ups.

Our keen focus on bringing new companies in to the Nashville region results in more relocating households to the region, which creates new customers for our local businesses. In a typical year, the Chamber helps attract 2,000 new households that spend more than $300 million with Middle Tennessee businesses. For example, when Nissan North America moved their headquarters here in 2006, hundreds of people moved here from Southern California, all of whom needed a place to live, grocery shop, work out, buy clothes, get haircuts -- the list goes on and on. In this way, our economic development efforts benefit companies of all sizes throughout the region.

The Nashville region is building a strong reputation as a vibrant and growing area that offers many opportunities. Due in part to national marketing efforts, the world is taking notice of Nashville's friendliness, quality of life and creative spirit. In the past year, Nashville has been named one of the best places to live in America, and Forbes has called us one of the "next big boom towns."

In the case of a large corporate relocation, such as the recently announced Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, companies often start with a long list of communities and then narrow it down based on factors such as business climate and economic incentives. Quality of life plays a huge role in that process. I often say that if we can get the companies or their consultants here for a visit, our work in selling Nashville becomes much easier because our community's vibrancy and energy are so contagious.

We have measurable, specific metrics in place to prove the effectiveness of our regional economic development strategy. But at the end of the day, we love positive national rankings because they help us tell the Nashville story to a larger audience.

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