Your Chamber: 5 Things You Should Know

Kristyna Bronner

Hey there. Welcome to Chattanooga TREND, an online publication of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. You may be familiar with us, since you’re on our website. Whether you stumbled across us by chance or you’re looking for more information about living in the Chattanooga area, we’re glad you found us.

Here at the Chattanooga Chamber, we are more than 2,000 businesses of all sizes, representing 80,000 employees and promoting economic growth throughout the region. We’ve been around since 1887 and help local businesses thrive while working to attract even more to the region.  We love what we do and we hope you do too, so we’re sharing five important things you should know about us. 

1. We’re part of something bigger.
While we work every day to help our members, we also have our eye on a bigger picture: enhancing economic development for not only Chattanooga and Hamilton County, but our entire region. Cue Thrive 2055, a citizen-led, public-private planning initiative that intends to build a strong future for the region. The organization connects people from the 16-county, tri-state region of Northeast Alabama, Northwest Georgia and Southeast Tennessee, to work together towards a common goal.

Thrive 2055 develops strategies to elevate the region: from regional transportation and natural treasures to education and job training and economic development. From Thrive 2055 will be a collaborative effort of marketing the 16-county region to make us more competitive in economic development and job creation. This economic development strategy is just one of the four key areas that Thrive 2055 has focused on for the region.

2. We believe in education.
We’re passionate about preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. Each year, we analyze the latest data to determine what skills are needed to fill forecasted jobs to help ensure the development of a strong and diversified workforce. We also share our time and resources with students and schools around Hamilton County. In 2015 alone, our 1,300 recruited volunteers served 13,525 students across the county with our School to Work programs. Our job fairs regularly attract outstanding companies with available openings. To help those looking, we added a soft skills training the week before the 2015 job fair.

As our Chamber President & CEO Bill Kilbride says, “When businesses partner with students and schools, high school graduation rates improve. When businesses collaborate with community colleges and universities, curriculum is created that aligns with real-life job skills requirements. And when Chattanoogans work together, things change for the better.”

3. We support our members.
When businesses become Chamber members, they become part of our family. We work to help all of our members succeed and grow their businesses. That’s why we offer endless perks to help them reach their goals.

At the Chamber, we:

  • Build Connections: We offer more than 200 networking events each year, where members can form valuable relationships with potential customers, city and county officials and their community.
  • Raise Community Awareness: Through our focused programing, we keep our members in the know about what’s happening in both the community and beyond that could impact their business.
  • Save Our Members Money: We offer discounts to member businesses through our Member-to-Member coupons program, as well as discounted rates on office supplies, email marketing and merchant services through our SmartBuy program. Beyond day-to-day discounts, Chamber members receive a year of marketing included in the annual membership fee.
  • Help Grow Businesses: Each of our member businesses is included in our online membership directory, which garners more than 350,000 views annually from around the world.

4. We care about the future.
Whether it’s working to attract international companies, like Volkswagen, or assisting local entrepreneurs with new business ideas, we always look ahead.  The Chamber is committed to creating jobs and spurring investment. In 2015, our efforts yielded more than 3,000 new jobs and $800 million in new capital investment. 

Our INCubator, located in the Hamilton County Business Development Center, fosters the next generation of businesses.  Home to more than 50 businesses at various stages of development, the INCubator offers a range of resources, from financial to technical. The largest business incubator in the state of Tennessee and the third largest in the country, the INCubator has graduated more than 530 companies since opening in 1988.

Beyond our own incubator, we also connect our members with our partners who share our commitment to developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Chattanooga, including Launch Chattanooga, Co. Lab, The Enterprise Center and Lamp Post Group.

5. We know how to have a good time.
We’re serious about what we do, but we also know how to have fun.  Our events range in size and consistently bring people together for an enjoyable experience. From drinks at Business After Hours to hanging at a Chattanooga Lookouts game, our dedicated staff always brings their brightest smiles and best attitude to each event.   

Most importantly, we’re passionate about what we do and we want to help you however we can. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and call us at 423-756-2121. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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