Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Ralph Schulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, who discusses the organization’s purpose to create economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation, representing more than 2,000 member companies. During the interview, Ralph highlights the economic development and community enhancement initiative of the Chamber, Partnership 2030, which is a regional cooperative dedicated to making Middle Tennessee among the nation’s best place to live, work and do business. He also discusses the Save Nashville Now coalition, the referendum on the July 27 ballot, how business leaders and others can get involved in moving the community forward, and much more.
- About the Chamber: The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation, representing more than 2,000 member companies. Belong, engage, lead, prosper embodies the Chamber’s purpose to create economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. Established in 1990 as an economic development and community enhancement initiative of the Chamber, Partnership 2030 is a regional cooperative dedicated to making Middle Tennessee among the nation’s best places to live, work and do business.
- Current initiatives:
- Launching Partnership 2030 July 1.
- A 1989 Wall Street Journal article called out Nashville as being behind other Southeast cities in terms of economic development
- A group of business leaders decided that we needed an intentional plan – essentially a marketing plan for economic development
- It would be a public-private partnership, it would be regional, and it would be housed at the Chamber
- Since 1990, we’ve seen more than 530,000 new jobs created by expansions and relocations of companies in the Nashville region.
- Relocation of 1,000 new companies
- Per capita income has grown more than 200%
- Population has grown 78% with 2 million residents today
- Now, we’re about to launch the 7th iteration – Partnership 2030
- Not since 1990 when Partnership began has there been a more important time for an intentional plan around regional economic growth
- The plan is focused on three strategic drivers: Job Growth, Education and Talent Development, and Quality of Place and Livability
- Two Strategic Foundations are critical to the success of the plan:
- Regional Collaboration maintains our competitiveness and ensures our strategies meet the needs of the entire 10-county Nashville Economic Market
- Deep Prosperity, or economic inclusion, is a foundational commitment in P2030. It is the reframing of prosperity to intentionally promote economic growth that is robust, shared by all, and enduring over the long term
- Working to defeat the referendum on the ballot July 27.
- The Chamber has joined the Save Nashville Now coalition, a group of businesses, labor unions, faith groups and community organizations working to educate Nashvillians about the drastic cuts to city services that would result if the referendum passes. The referendum includes six provisions that would severely harm Nashville-Davidson County by cutting significant services, making it more difficult to govern and reversing progress that has been made in areas such as education, public safety, affordable housing and health care. Specifically, the referendum reduces Metro’s property tax rate, creating a $40 million deficit in Metro’s budget, lowers the bar for recalling elected officials, abolishes lifetime or other benefits for elected officials, changes how amendments to Metro’s Charter can be made, makes it difficult for Metro to sell or lease land for community development, and targets professional sports teams, putting their facilities at risk.
- Ways to get engaged:
- We welcome the chance to work with business and community leaders on important issues that shape our region’s prosperity – from education to small business, and from community relations to business recruitment. We work with members to identify the areas that align with their business priorities or personal interests, and we connect them with opportunities to lead on issues they care about. Find out more by contacting us through our website – nashvillechamber.com or by phone at 615-743-3000.