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In a dynamic and collaborative effort to foster economic development and inclusivity, the Small and Diverse Business Forum 2024, hosted by First Horizon Bank in partnership with Music City Center and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and actionable insights. The event invited a diverse array of stakeholders and aimed to empower small and diverse businesses while promoting the importance of inclusivity and innovation in Middle Tennessee’s economic landscape.

EDGE Vice President of Operations Dr. Joann Massey has extensive expertise and unwavering commitment to fostering economic growth. This made her a valuable addition to the panel discussion titled “Small Business, Big Impact: How Economic Development Experts Plan for the Future.”

Moderated by Bistany Bass of WBEC South, the panel featured distinguished experts including Dr. Isaac Addae from the Nashville Mayor’s Office, Lyndi Berrones representing the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), and Patrick Cammack from the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. Together, they explored strategies for enhancing opportunities for small and diverse businesses and discussed the pivotal role of economic development in shaping the future of Tennessee.

Throughout the discussion, Dr. Massey highlighted the importance of proactive measures to support small and diverse businesses, emphasizing the need for collaborative initiatives and strategic partnerships. Drawing from her experience at EDGE, she underscored the significance of tailored approaches to address the unique challenges and opportunities facing communities.

One key takeaway from the panel was the recognition of small businesses as drivers of innovation and economic resilience. By fostering an inclusive ecosystem that champions diversity and entrepreneurship, stakeholders can unlock new avenues for growth and prosperity. Moreover, the panelists emphasized the importance of leveraging resources and networks to facilitate access to opportunities like this.