The It City is becoming more diverse with each passing year.
- According to the Nashville Business Journal, in less than a decade, “no city’s immigrant population grew fasteEnglishNashville’s, with an 83% rise.”
- 30 percent of Nashville’s public school students come from a home in which English is not the primary language.
- At current rates, Nashville will become a “majority minority city” – one in which minorities collectively comprise more than 50% of the city’s population – by 2040.
And while change at this rate presents challenges for businesses, educators and government in Metro Nashville, Nashville’s growing diversity is actually one of our most valuable assets to drive continued economic growth.
Diversity delivers proven results. Two of Nashville’s most visible large-scale projects are textbook examples of business and government working together to create better, more cost-effective solutions. Small, woman-owned, and minority businesses delivered almost 30 percent of the labor, goods and services for The Music City Center and Omni Hotel projects.
Both projects were completed on time and under budget; construction on the Music City Center alone came in $7.5 million under its budgeted $585 million.
That’s a rare feat for a single large project, and almost unheard of in a two-element project of this complexity.
Diversity builds more stable communities. When minority businesses thrive, communities across the city thrive. Businesses create new tax revenues as they invest in and grow their workforces, their facilities, and their community investments. Workers who were renters become homeowners. Schools improve and students thrive. Families grow, children grow up and choose to start their own families in or near the communities that created them.
Diversity lessens brain drain. An old adage about the easiest way to succeed is suggesting you “fish where the fish are.” When major corporations build or expand, new opportunities are created. A more diverse, inclusive workforce can provide new perspectives and solutions. Nashville’s tech landscape has exploded over the past decade because of careful nurturing of fledgling businesses, and the minds that create them. By creating and maintaining a business and regulatory environment that seeks out new ideas from every corner of the city, we can ensure that our brightest tech and innovation stars don’t abandon Nashville for the brighter lights of Silicon Valley or elsewhere.
We know that assets grow in value through prudent stewardship and investment that looks beyond short-term gains.
By combining business’s demands for more inclusive, diverse workforces with Metro Nashville’s mandate from its citizens, we ensure the creation of a fair playing field on which minority and women-owned businesses can deliver. And we ensure that Nashville’s diversity continues its growth into one of “The It City’s” most potent business development assets.
The time is now – as Nashville’s newest population segments continue to grow – for business and government leaders to redouble their efforts to ensure that Nashville’s economic prosperity creates wealth for all who work to create value.