Where Are We Now? A Look Back at Chattanooga Climbs

In 2023 the Chattanooga Chamber will update the Chattanooga Climbs strategic plan and through the end of January, anyone who lives or works in Hamilton County can take a brief survey about economic and talent development priorities for 2024-2028.

Community feedback from Chattanooga Climbs helped to inform ajob growth and investment strategy that generated an additional $1.3 billion in economic activity for the Chattanooga region.

In 2019-2020, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and a steering committee comprised of community, county, city and business leaders worked to engage area residents on a future vision for economic prosperity in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Since then, the result of that community visioning process, Chattanooga Climbs, has guided the Chamber’s work program for high-quality job creation, talent development for an emerging economy, and equitable access to increased regional prosperity.  

Chattanooga Climbs and  its associated capital campaign rests on four major pillars for regional identity, economic and talent development. Accomplishments in these areas include:

  • Become Future Ready by developing skills for the new economy:
  • Deliver economic Mobility for All, so that every resident is thriving
  • Leverage the GIG City to allow entrepreneurs to lead the way
    • EPB launched America’s first community-wide 25-Gig broadband service, as well as America’s first industry-led, commercially available quantum network.
    • The Chamber’s INCubator has seen an increase in successful start-up companies, with an astonishing 100% occupancy rate for manufacturing space and an 80% occupancy rate overall. The INC is now the largest entrepreneurial incubator for small-business startups in Tennessee, and the third largest in the United States.
  • Foster an Inclusive Economy through Collaborative Leadership
    • The Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusive Growth team is partnering with major area employers to launch a pilot project for growing Chattanooga’s supplier-diversity ecosystem, and continues to offer training and professional development for minority business owners and corporate leaders seeking to foster more inclusive and diverse workplaces.

Other Climbs successes have included: Business recruitment efforts expanding to a global footprint, campaigns to attract and encourage entrepreneurs, regional site selection and engineering analyses, talent attraction/development/retention initiatives, and public policy advocacy at both the state and national levels. 

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