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Connected Nashville Dimension 1: Smart Economy

In order to assure continued growth for Nashville, our community must foster entrepreneurship and innovation to remain competitive in evolving local, national and global economic landscapes. To plan for ongoing economic success, we must encourage collaboration between government, academia and industry, and establish programs that make Nashville an attractive location for existing businesses and for prospective new corporate citizens.

Strategies in Dimension 1, Smart Economy

Strategy 1: Foster Healthcare Management Leadership

According to industry research by the Nashville Healthcare Council, Nashville’s healthcare industry “contributes an overall economic benefit of $38.8 billion and more than 250,000 jobs to the local economy annually. Globally, Nashville’s health care industry generates more than $84 billion in revenue and more than 500,000 jobs.” An August 2016 study by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, entitled From healthcare capital to innovation hub: Positioning Nashville as a leader in health IT, states that Nashville’s opportunity “revolves around multiple areas of competitive advantage” including major IT investments within Nashville’s healthcare industry. Brookings further states that Nashville is at an advantage due to “substantial flows of high-value products and services generated in the region and sold through its extensive networks in national markets, and a high concentration of health-related research at Vanderbilt University”.

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Strategy 2: Develop Small Business Resources

According to American City Business Journals’ 2017 Small Business Vitality survey, Nashville ranked No. 18 among 106 metros in the area of small business success. During the first quarter of 2017, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce saw an average membership increase of 20 per month. Nashville is constantly expanding support for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but sometimes these efforts occur in silos, and it is often difficult for small business owners to gain full view of all opportunities. To stay on the path of progress, Nashville must create a network of small business resources, and use data and analytics to develop those resources based on current needs and trends.

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Strategy 3: Embrace Data-driven Workforce and Development Approaches

Nashville’s economic success relies heavily on our workforce. Developing a successful workforce requires ongoing enhancement of the methods we use to gather and analyze information related to our efforts. Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s five-year State Workforce Strategic Plan recommends that we “use Labor Market Information and other available data to drive decision-making and strategic planning.” The plan further states that “knowing where the jobs are, assessing the needed competencies and skills, and understanding the labor market context, all remain as important as ever for effective jobseeker and business relations programs.” A key factor of Nashville’s success in workforce development is the ongoing effort to fill technology sector jobs. The United States Commerce Department predicts that STEM jobs will continue to drive economic progress through 2018 (Forbes, 2015). Targeted economic and workforce development efforts require continual data collection for feedback and improvements. Using data and analysis, we can improve our local workforce development efforts, as well as recruitment efforts in specific geographical areas to ensure consistent, long-term economic growth across the city.

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Strategy 4: Strengthen Nashville’s Entrepreneurial Spirit and Community

Nashville has a rich history of supporting entrepreneurs, at a consistently higher level than the national average (Livablity.com Top 50 Cities for Entrepreneurs 2016, WalletHub Best Places to Start a Business 2017, Forbes Best Places for Businesses and Careers 2017). Opportunities and resources are plentiful. New ideas are abundant. The framework that connects ideas to resources across Nashville is a critical component for continued success. This framework, if we strengthen it, will extend Nashville’s entrepreneurial training and development initiatives across all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, incomes and locations. 

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