Over the fiscal year 2022-2023, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and its economic partners have strengthened the region's economic landscape in tremendous ways as we work to build a thriving Chattanooga region.
Most prominently, we participated in the announcement of 1,355 jobs and capital investment of more than $320 million. These accomplishments were made possible with collaborative work alongside our community partners, including key stakeholders, elected representatives and our board of directors.
During this time, we have grown in ways large and small, cultivating our greatest economic asset: relationships. We conducted 167 meetings with existing companies with nearly all in targeted industries.
Our work has international impact.
During fiscal year 2022-2023, we supported the upcoming work of the Chattanooga Foreign Trade Zone which helps manufacturers in the Chattanooga region minimize tariffs. The Zone is expected to produce $4.2 billion of announced activity. Zone-related employment was more than 4,500 jobs with related exports valued at $570 million with two new additions soon to be announced.
Our work has national influence.
Along with hosting 30 national economic leaders, we've built and strengthened ties with business leaders from coast to coast.
Our work has regional and local influence.
The Chamber provided real-time and long-lasting support for multiple new businesses and economic development projects: The Bend/One Westside, North River Commerce Park, iFixit's downtown redevelopment and SK Food Group's new facility. Our work also focused on supporting existing development and business: Steward Advanced Materials, Textile Printing & Packaging, Kordsa Inc.
Our work shapes and influences the future.
The INCubator, housed at the Hamilton County Business Development Center and managed by the Chattanooga Chamber, represents the future of regional entrepreneurialism. Over the calendar year 2022, the INC has experienced an upsurge in successful new start-ups and boasts an astonishing 95% occupancy rate for manufacturing space and an 80% occupancy overall.
The INC is home to 46 start-ups – including 10 owned by entrepreneurs of color – that provided more than 250 jobs in consumer packaged goods, tech, services and advanced manufacturing sectors.
We were thrilled to support the creation of the Coca-Cola Future Ready Institute of Business at Hixson High School and continuing funding from New America as a member of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships. Additionally, BuildWithin selected Chattanooga as one of only five Apprenticeship Innovation Hubs in the U.S., which will expand apprenticeship opportunities regionally.
The Chamber is committed to all these programs. We thank you for your commitment to us.
Editor's note: From remarks made by Charles Wood, President and CEO, Chattanooga Chamber, during the fall Annual Meeting.