It’s been an eventful year for the Chamber and the Nashville region’s business community. We completed the first year of our five-year Partnership 2030 economic development plan for the region. We thank our Partnership investors for your commitment to this plan. Your engagement and support allowed us to raise the $25 million needed to implement our strategies around job creation, education and talent development, and quality of place and livability. You helped create this strategy, emphasizing the need for continued regional collaboration and an intentional plan around deep prosperity and economic inclusion.
Our members have made it clear that the Nashville region’s growth should expand opportunity for more Middle Tennesseans. This includes ensuring our homegrown population has the skills and access needed to attain high-wage, high-demand jobs. That’s why we’re focused on seamless postsecondary transitions and high-quality career pathways for our youth. We’re engaged with partners to expand work-based learning and close equity gaps, while working to increase adult postsecondary attainment and connect employers to opportunities to build their talent pipelines.
Nashville’s resilience continues to garner national attention. The region’s economic strength following the pandemic is evident in our job growth – 5th in the nation for top metro areas according to Brookings, and our cost-of-living index remains below the national average. In the fall of 2021, Nashville returned to pre-pandemic employment levels and our unemployment rate fell below the February 2020 level. In 2021-2022, we announced 38 business relocations and expansions accounting for 16,545 new jobs, $3 billion in capital investment and 5.8 million square feet of space to be occupied. We continue to diversify our economy, with more tech and bioscience companies investing in our region, and we continue to advocate for an environment that supports all businesses – small, medium and large – across all industries.
Over the past year, our work expanded through the addition of 306 new members and 24 new Partnership 2030 investors. Of the more than 1,800 Chamber members, 85% are small businesses, with less than 100 employees. We recognize the importance of nurturing our small and existing businesses who make up more than 60% of the Nashville area’s job growth. Through programs such as the Small and Diverse Business Forum and Business Studio, we connect small businesses to resources to help them grow. Our small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem reflects Nashville’s reputation as a magnet for businesses of all sizes to prosper.
Nashville is also a magnet for talent, and we continue to see strong in-migration to the region. We launched our Intro Nashville program in person in 2021 to connect new Nashvillians with leaders who have been a part of making Nashville what it is today. Similarly, the WE ARE NASHVILLE movement highlighted during our 2022 Annual Celebration provides a family portrait of Nashville’s people, designed to remind us of our shared values and the needs of our neighbors. This sense of community exemplifies the Chamber’s purpose and values.
As we kick off our 175th year, we are thankful for each of you – leaders who have embodied the Chamber’s purpose of creating economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. With your continued support, we will build our region’s future over the next 175 years.
Thank you for being a part of the Nashville region’s story,
Since 2008, the Nashville Area Chamber’s annual Spirit of the Region Award has honored individuals and businesses that have contributed greatly to our organization’s purpose – creating economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. Honorees are chosen based on business excellence, inspired leadership, community mindedness, and going above and beyond the call of duty.
This year’s awardee, the late Darrell S. Freeman Sr., was a family man, mentor, businessman, philanthropist, and innovative leader.
This year’s Annual Celebration features an immersive WE ARE NASHVILLE experience designed to foster a deeper understanding of who we are, inspire conversations that help us get to know one other, and take simple but meaningful actions to embrace and preserve the unique character of our city and region.
Told through the eyes of award-winning photojournalist Phillip Holsinger and marketing and advertising executive Kerry Graham, the WE ARE NASHVILLE movement is a family portrait of the people of Nashville, designed to remind us of our shared values and the needs of our neighbors.