Fountain City Business and Professional Association met Sept. 12, at Central Baptist Church of Fountain City. The keynote speaker was Ashely Christian of Knoxville Chamber.
Christian is director of membership development at the Chamber, but her presentation focused on what she called “the sexy side” of the Chamber: economic development. The Innovation Valley initiative is a partnership of several agencies from counties and municipalities near Knox County, including Oak Ridge. Goals are to attract new businesses, help existing businesses grow, strengthen the area’s “brand” worldwide, develop and retain talent, spur entrepreneurship and innovation, and to celebrate local sustainability efforts.
Several programs operate under the Innovation Valley umbrella. Examples include Propel, which gives educators first-hand experience with the industries where their students might find employment, and the Competitive Airfare Partnership, focused on bringing more airlines to McGhee Tyson Airport.
Christian said direct impact of the program in 2016 was 1.568 new jobs, $241 million in capital investment, and a 1.9 percent wage increase.
- FCBPA president Beth Wade said there will be no membership meeting in October. In anticipation of winter weather, she said meeting cancellations typically follow Knox County Schools.
- Wade said the group is looking for new board members. Those who are interested should contact her at email@example.com.
- Board member Susan Jennings said the board is concerned about dwindling meeting attendance. They are sending out a survey to all email addresses in their attendance records to get ideas for boosting attendance and membership. All who participate will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card.