Recently, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Jenner Wood paid Cushman & Wakefield a visit, to discuss the Chamber’s priorities, and their vision for what Atlanta can be in the near future. Wood is one of the city’s most active and respected leaders in both the business and civic community, so it was interesting to hear his perspective on where the city stands and where it’s headed.
Wood said the Chamber has four pillars of its approach to building the strength of Atlanta’s economy and business community:
- Recruit, Retain, Expand Companies
They work hard to attract companies looking for a new location for their main headquarters or regional offices to consider the metro Atlanta area for their move. In the past year, Mercedes-Benz was one of the more prominent wins they had, but he stressed that there are many more that get less media attention, but are also key to bringing jobs and employment diversity to Atlanta. One of the keys to accomplishing this — as was very much the case with Mercedes-Benz — has been the Atlanta Chamber’s close relationship with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Governor Nathan Deal’s office, allowing them to work together to highlight the advantages of doing business not just with the city but with the state as a whole.
- Advocate for Competitive Business Climate and Quality of Place
“We want businesses to be successful here, and we want them to be able to grow here,” Wood said. “And it requires a business climate that’s conducive to such.”
- Promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship
They’re working with the university systems to create an environment where people will feel free and want to start their companies here, and have innovation centers. Atlanta Tech Village and the AT&T Mobility Center are examples of the work they’re doing for innovation entrepreneurship.
- Tell Atlanta’s Story
Atlanta has a lot of great things going for it, and the Chamber is committed to telling the story of Atlanta through its many successes and business-friendly practices. This is one of the main ways the Chamber is able to help Atlanta remain one of the best cities in the country to do business.
Wood said the Chamber has ambitious goals for 2016, looking to build on the legacy they already have and continue to drive job creation in the area.
- They helped to bring 16,000 jobs to Atlanta in 2015, and they expect to do the same this year, directly creating 8,755 and creating 8,652 indirectly. They anticipate an economic impact of $2.8 billion.
- They want to go to other high-cost states and try to recruit other companies to move to Atlanta.
- They’re going to work on the Brookings Institute Global Cities Initiative, a joint venture between Brookings and J.P. Morgan, to work on global commerce and to enhance the ability of companies in large cities to get into the manufacturing business again, and to increase their exports. In Atlanta, they’re looking to increase exports from companies that do so by 12.5% over the next several years.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to foster a network of connection and collaboration, bringing the right people together to create jobs and enhance the quality of life for the people of Atlanta. The factors are lining up this year to let them do just that with their ambitious plans for the city