Memphis Recognized for Job Creation

By Amos Maki

Memphis is one of only seven cities cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its public-private relationships focused on spurring innovation, revitalization and job creation.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

Memphis joins Dayton, Ohio, Irving and San Antonio, Texas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Sioux Falls, S.D., on the Chamber’s Enterprising City List.

The Chamber said each city boasts “enterprise-friendly leadership and policies at the city level” that facilitates “local economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs and mobilizing effective partnerships for improving the conditions for business and job growth.”

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and the Greater Memphis Chamber will announce the city’s inclusion on the list Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m. at Splash Creative at 2574 Sam Cooper Blvd. The list and a report on each city’s initiatives can be found at www.uschamber.com/reports.

Memphis was recognized for the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which has launched an ambitious neighborhood revitalization program.

The neighborhood vitality initiative is an outgrowth of a $4.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Wharton and his staff last year formed the team to carry out the grant’s mission of neighborhood revitalization and reducing youth handgun violence.

The goal of the neighborhood support program is to increase business starts, boost business activity and lower vacancy rates for commercial spaces by removing blight and other environmental barriers, and generating interest and ideas tailored to each community and aligning resources – public and private – to meet each neighborhood’s goals.

The nine-member Innovation Delivery Team provides the city – where resources have been diminished during tight budget times - and its partners with extra capacity and fresh eyes and ears to analyze and address public and private issues facing the neighborhoods.

The team works closely with community groups and organizations like the Greater Memphis Chamber and the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County.

“At base, the program is designed to ensure that something is being done on a small scale – laying the foundation for future success,” the Chamber said in its report. “While the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team is still a work in progress, leaders see the dynamism, the flexing to the needs of the community and the market, and the embracing of the small details as the road to future success for Memphis.”