Economic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The mission of the Knoxville Chamber is to drive regional economic prosperity for every person. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive economic ecosystem that provides equitable opportunities for people of all backgrounds and experiences. While this will not be achieved easily nor quickly, we understand that integrating diversity and equity strategies into our work is crucial to the success of our mission and our community.

This understanding is embedded in our five-year strategic vision, Path to Prosperity, and work on initiatives aligned with that vision is underway, including:

Business Climate

The 2020 Agenda for Economic Prosperity, an annual statement of principles approved by the organization’s board of directors, commits to the following positions in regard to local, state and federal legislation:

  • Support efforts to preserve Tennessee’s reputation as a welcoming state by opposing discriminatory legislation that hinders its reputation and negatively impacts the economy, jobs and the ability to attract talent.
  • Support a comprehensive solution to address the United States’ immigration system and ensure that it protects our borders, provides a pathway toward earned citizenship and allows the United States to attract and keep the world’s most talented workforce.

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Entrepreneurship / Small Business

As a Path to Prosperity priority, the Knoxville Chamber aims to develop a regional access-to-capital strategy that increases the availability of usable capital across the spectrum of needs. Research shows that lack of access to capital has a greater negative impact on Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses. A holistic, collaborative strategy can have a positive influence on the economic mobility of those communities while building a more resilient, regional economy.

To that end, the Knoxville Chamber is actively engaged with 100Knoxville, an initiative aimed at growing local, black-owned businesses by $10 million in five years.

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The eKnox task force is working to create more options toward the goal of achieving 100 percent broadband connectivity for every household in the Knoxville metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Currently, the task force has focused on developing an emergency Internet access plan for every student in Knox County in preparation for virtual learning expectations during the 2020-21 school year.

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The Talent Retention and Attraction Task Force has been charged with engaging community partners and professionals to build an inclusive talent pipeline that offers equitable economic opportunities for all people in our region. If you are interested in participating in the task force or have information to share, contact Lauren Longmire

Community Resources

Bridge Refugee Services

Work to ensure refugees resettled in East Tennessee will find a secure path towards self-sufficiency and fulfill their American dreams within a supportive community.

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Centro Hispano de East Tennessee

The leading resource for East Tennessee’s Latino community committed to helping every Latino and Latina in East Tennessee thrive culturally, educationally and economically.

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Knox Pride

Promoting inclusion and equality for the LGBTQ+ citizens of Knoxville.

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The Knoxville Area Urban League

A civil rights, economic development and social service organization, that promotes equal employment opportunities for African-Americans in Knoxville and the surrounding region.

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YWCA Knoxville

Dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

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