The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Existing Business Team Earns International Honor for Improving Local Economic Growth

Release date: 4/18/2011

Memphis, TN - Members of the local Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI) chapter received BREI's “Multi-Community/Regional with a population over 100,000.” Each year, one award is given to an individual or group who contribute to the economic sustainability and growth of an individual community, county, state or province.

The program highlighted was the Memphis ED*-Business Retention and Expansion-Strategy, which is designed for business retention/expansion programs with an emphasis on growing minority/women-owned firms. The business climate has been substantially improved by the efforts of the Existing Business Team which include chamber staff members: Susan Hadley Maynor, Kelvin Kolheim and Craig Dillihunt. In addition to the chamber, there are 30 different entities that comprise the Memphis EBT. Companies are able to receive the benefit of an on-site consultation to determine if there are any challenges and or opportunities that the public and private partners can address. As a result of public and private concerns, the EBT work with city and county government to establish a retention PILOT which has led to $273 million in new investments with an average wage per worker of $56,261 from 2008—2010.

“Our primary mission as outlined in the MemphisED plan is to support the growth of our existing businesses within the region,” says Craig Dillihunt, Existing Business Consultant for the Greater Memphis Chamber. “This award represents the dedication of our entire team.”

The BREI award for “Multi-Community/Regional with a population over 100,000” is given based on a community's size. This international honor is judged on strategy and improvements to the overall business climate through tangible results. Special consideration is given to individuals and groups who provide innovative solutions to unique needs within the given community.

BREI is the leading professional association for business retention and expansion, providing communities solutions for economic sustainability and growth through leadership resources, networking opportunities and education. BREI Awards applications are received from between 10-50 organizations per year from throughout the world.

*The Memphis Area Economic Development (MemphisED) Plan serves as the economic development component of a broader economic growth initiative for Memphis/Shelby County called Memphis Fast Forward. MemphisED is led by the Greater Memphis Chamber. The plan is designed to ensure that both Memphis/Shelby County has a strong and diverse economy, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, and advance the region’s global leadership in the bioscience, music/film and logistics industries.

The Greater Memphis Chamber is the lead economic development agency for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,300 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.