Lessons from the Road

Recently, I had the chance to join some of the fastest growing companies from around the country as they convened in Nashville, TN for Inc. Magazines 2014 GrowCo Conference. In addition to hearing from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, attendees were there to network and learn from each other in an effort to grow more effective companies. It was a chance for Arlington Economic Development to discuss the opportunities and challenges emerging businesses (outside of our often insulated local economy) are facing today and to learn more about what they’re looking for in their ideal business locations.

I can report good news – we have a lot of it. The location, workforce, schools, transportation, and an abundance of real estate options were all discussed and applauded. In short, we have a great story to tell. But you most likely knew that. The key is making sure we act thoughtfully as a community going forward in light of what is happening in Nashville and places like it around the country where there can be found a palpable energy and optimism for the future.

The most impressive takeaway was why Inc. Magazine chose Nashville. To tell that story, I will point you back to September 2007, when 25 local entrepreneurs got together in recognition of the desperate need to build better infrastructure around starting companies. They would ultimately create the “EC” or the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, which is now nationally recognized as a leading accelerator and key Economic Development tool for Nashville. They have an impressive facility in what used to be the city’s old Trolley Barns (a once dilapidated wasteland), which now host, in addition to the EC, some of the most interesting and innovative local companies as well as businesses that chose to move to Nashville to be a part of what is going on there.

The EC is the figure head of a larger, more robust movement in Nashville to promote businesses and entrepreneurs – and it is working.  Inc. recognized this and put together a very impressive conference in a vibrant city in the midst of a renaissance.  The collaboration by and between their local government and private business community was instrumental to their success.  It has taken massive amounts of support from many corners of the community to build what they have over the last seven years.

In Arlington we too are in the midst of a shift in our economy and, fortunately for us, our resources as a community are tremendous. The breadth and depth of talented people here seeking change, coupled with one of the most impressive foundations on which to build gives me true excitement for what is to come - I only hope our music gets better.


Topic: BIG Update
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