The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Middle Tennessee business community have had a productive year. As the second year of our five-year Partnership 2030 regional economic development plan concludes, we celebrate our Partnership Investors for their unwavering commitment to the Partnership plan, and the region’s continued success. With more than 250 businesses and organizations invested, the Partnership is focused on implementing community strategies that accelerate job creation, workforce development, and livability. Your input and direction have been instrumental in shaping this strategy, continuously highlighting regional collaboration, and fostering a deliberate approach to create longstanding prosperity and economic inclusion.
To increase opportunity for all Middle Tennesseans, we are focused on supporting education and talent development initiatives that ensure our local population has the necessary skills to access and attain high-wage, high-demand jobs. Through active collaboration with our community partners, we continued to expand opportunities for students through work-based learning, dual enrollment, high quality career pathways, and seamless transitions into postsecondary education and careers.
Nationally recognized as a talent magnet, Middle Tennessee has seen a strong number of in-migrations to the region. The Nashville MSA added over 35,624 people in 2022, ranking in the top ten among major US cities with a population of at least 1 million. With a cost-of living-index ranked below the national average and 10.3% job growth since February 2020, it’s no surprise that this past year we announced 26 business relocations and expansions. This growth added 5,456 new jobs and $4.7 billion in capital investment. As the Chamber works to grow and diversify the region’s economy, collaboration between businesses, the public sector, and community leaders will continue to push Middle Tennessee toward long term economic prosperity.
Over the past year, we added 316 new members and 19 new Partnership 2030 investors. Through programming such as our Small and Diverse Business Forum, Nashpreneurs Conference, and Business Studios, we help connect these businesses to resources that allow them to collaborate with the community and prosper.
As we move into the next year, we want to take a moment to thank each of our members and investors – leaders who have embodied the Chamber’s purpose of creating economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. You are at the heart of our region’s prosperity. With your partnership and support, together we will build a prosperous future for generations to come.
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 through community leadership. Honorees are chosen based on business excellence and advancing prosperity on behalf of Middle Tennessee.
This year’s recipient, BNA Nashville International Airport, is recognized for its contributions as an economic driver to the region and the community. Over the 2023 fiscal year, BNA served a total of 21.9 million passengers—a 18.7% increase from its record-breaking 2022 year. More than a transit point, BNA is a catalyst for business, a driver for tourism, and a beacon of innovation. Its recent expansion projects have created over 2,000 jobs, injected hundreds of millions into the local economy, and set the stage for Nashville to become a pivotal connection point between the east and west coasts.
From fostering international trade relationships to elevating our profile as a destination for business and leisure alike, BNA’s impact is multidimensional. Its commitment to sustainability, community outreach, and technological innovation positions BNA as an integral ingredient to the regions long-term economic success.
Economic Development is a core focus of the Chamber, given our mission to make the Nashville region the best place to call home. With over 2 million people and 60,000 businesses, Middle Tennessee is known for its diverse economy, low cost of living and doing business, collaborative culture, and well-educated population.
This past year, Nashville was named a “Top Market to Watch” (PwC) and landed in the “Top 3 Best States to Do Business” (Chief Executive), while our top-ranked economic development team was hard at work, assisting with 10 relocations and 16 expansions, adding 5,456 new jobs and over $4.7 billion in capital investment to our economy. Company announcement highlights include Kroger, LG Chem, In-N-Out Burger, Kewpie, Ultium Cells, New Balance, and McNeilus.
In addition to supporting 26 announcements, the team prioritized outbound visits with site selection consultants and companies. To promote the Nashville region as a top business destination, the team traveled to more than 20 cities and several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. The work of our dedicated Economic Development team is not only improving the Nashville region but also providing more opportunities for Middle Tennesseans to succeed.
With increasing foreign direct investment and exports, the Middle Tennessee region is on the leading edge of international business. Music City appeals to international businesses of all sectors, including health care, advanced manufacturing, technology, supply chain, music, and entertainment, due to its pro-business policies, cost advantages, and location. This year, the Chamber traveled to several countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
This year, six international companies relocated or expanded into the region, bringing with them added jobs and economic investment. Companies like Kewpie Corporation and Hankook Tire & Technology Co. joined the over 340 foreign-owned companies already in the region. These businesses represent 26 countries and employ more than 56,000 middle Tennesseans.
The Chamber traveled to London, Leeds, and Liverpool to strengthen relationships between the Nashville region and areas of opportunity in the United Kingdom. Chamber representatives attended London Tech Week, the BritishAmerican Business Annual Networking Conference, and met with key partners such as the UK Department of Business and Trade, site selection consultants, and more.
The Nashville Area Chamber’s Partnership 2030 is a public-private initiative dedicated to Middle Tennessee’s long-term economic prosperity. The Partnership was formed in 1990 to maintain and grow the Nashville region’s economy by creating jobs through relocating and expanding businesses, building a talented and creative workforce, and promoting quality of place and livability. Since the start of Partnership in 1990, the population has grown by more than 88% to over 2 million people, over 3,300 companies have expanded or relocated to the Nashville region, resulting in the creation of more than 569,000 new jobs. There are over 250 businesses and organizations investing in the regional economic development initiative.
Partnership 2030 investors are invited to exclusive investor-only events throughout the year to receive information about the region and network with other investors. The Partnership Economic Development Council met quarterly to hear economic and regional updates on topics including the growing private equity and venture capital scenes to the introduction of the Transportation Modernization Act of 2023. The Lead Investor Council also met throughout the year to discuss the progress of the P2030 plan and hear from some of our region’s leaders, including TNECD Commissioner McWhorter, and Metro Planning Director Lucy Kempf. Other opportunities for investors included an event around the state of housing, tour of the BNA expansion, and a luncheon with regional partners.
The Chamber works closely with key partners like Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) throughout the region to advance policies and initiatives that help Middle Tennesseans, from high school students to adult learners, succeed in post-secondary education and the workforce. Each year our dedicated talent team works to empower Chamber members to engage with and advocate for issues surrounding PreK-12 education, post-secondary attainment, and transitions into the workforce.
The Policy team at the Chamber focuses on the Middle Tennessee region and ensures that the public and private sectors work toward a common goal of creating prosperity for our communities and residents. By engaging our members in leadership roles, we can extend our voice and our impact in the community. Our policy work encompasses community development and legislative advocacy, all of which support our members needs in a competitive business environment.
Each year, the team frames key policy goals related to Metro, Regional, and State policies and mobility. This year’s frames are:
Entertainment Transportation Vehicles: On September 9, 2022, the Transportation Licensing Commission limited the number of permits issued to party buses from a non-capped number to less than 70.
Music, Film, & Entertainment Commission: On March 23, 2023, following a $20,000 commitment from the Chamber for a study on strategies to support small and medium-sized independent music venues, Metro Council approved the creation of a Metro Commission to foster and promote policies that will strengthen the entertainment and music ecosystem in Nashville.
Titans Stadium: On April 25, 2023, the final piece of legislation related to the building of the new Titans Stadium was approved by the Metro Council. The legislature authorized Metro Government to execute and deliver the funding for a new, enclosed stadium.
The Chamber serves as a vital catalyst for community growth and prosperity through its diverse array of signature events and programs. These initiatives create an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas, forming new connections, and educating individuals as they grow their businesses. Programs this year included Intro Nashville, Nashpreneurs Conference, YP Summit, Small & Diverse Business Fair, and the premier of the Growing Together Women’s Voices of Vision series.
The Intro Nashville program, created in 2019, offers community members new insight into our city and region, and provides an opportunity for participants to expand their network. Tailored toward professionals, Intro Nashville is a way to connect with and learn from community leaders who have shaped the region. This year’s storytellers included Chief John Drake, Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, and Judge Sheila Calloway. Since inception, 17 virtual or in-person sessions have been with almost 350 attendees.
In May, the 30th Leadership Study Mission delegation traveled to Tampa, Florida to hear from regional leaders on key topics such as waterfront activation, education, talent development, and affordable housing. Trip highlights included a panel focused on sports culture, historical breakout sessions, and an address from Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor, before departing on a sunset dinner cruise. The 2023 Leadership Connect cohort was also in attendance sponsored by the Chamber’s Pay It Forward program.
In June, the 5th annual Nashpreneurs Conference joined small business leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives for panels and discussions on Capital Catalyst: Driving Small Business Success through Venture Capital and Banking. Keynote speaker, Mignon Francois, founder and CEO of The Cupcake Collection and newly published author received the esteemed Nashpreneur of the Year award.
The Chamber and YP (Young Professionals) Nashville hosted the 1st annual YP Summit hosted by Belmont University. The half-day conference geared toward aspiring leaders, provided insightful sessions, engaging speakers, and invaluable networking opportunities. Brittany Cole kicked off the conference with a captivating keynote address, followed by breakout sessions focused on career growth, coachability, skill development, and well-being.
The Chamber hosted quarterly Area Advisory Council (AAC) meetings, building momentum over the past year. Supporting six specific geographic areas in Davidson County, each meeting featured programming alternating between networking and community content. Speed networking was one of the highest attended programs with nearly 100 registrants.
As an expansion of the Chamber’s small business offerings, our team hosted the 1st annual Small and Diverse Business Fair, sponsored by Truist. Featuring more than 30 investors promoting procurement opportunities, the fair attracted over 100 small business owners and attendees.
In April, the Chamber hosted Business & Baseball in collaboration with the Nashville Sounds, featuring networking, a ticket to the game, and exclusive access to Hit City Hall. In June, we hosted Sips & Swings, a sold-out event at TopGolf that offered members networking in a social setting including lite bites, music, and free access to golf bays.
In May, as part of our women’s initiative Growing Together, the Chamber launched Voices of Vision. The three-part series featured panelists who shared leadership stories, how they navigate and overcome challenges, and their vision for the future of women in business. Diverse female leaders from various industries across Nashville were featured.