Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, March 26, 2010:
Initiative will focus on matchmaking and growth opportunities for Tennessee businesses
KINGSPORT – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced plans today to launch the “Tennessee First” initiative to create jobs by identifying the fastest growing companies in Tennessee and connecting them to in-state small businesses and regions ripe for economic development.
Speaking at an economic development roundtable in Northeast Tennessee as a part of his statewide Jobs Tour, Mayor Haslam expanded on his earlier announcement of a campaign to promote entrepreneurship and job growth in Tennessee through a focused effort on small businesses.
“Tennessee First is a significant piece of the puzzle and will be a critical step towards making Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” said Haslam.
“Throughout the Jobs Tour, I’ve heard over and over from local business owners: at the same time we’re recruiting outside businesses to invest in Tennessee for the first time, we should be doing all we can to promote job retention and expansion at the companies that are already here,” Haslam said.
The Small Business Works initiative will involve working alongside small business owners to create the best possible environment for starting or growing a business in Tennessee, while enhancing the state’s efforts to provide useful, timely information and guidance to anyone seeking to start a business here.
As an extension of Small Business Works, “Tennessee First” will include a concentrated effort to identify the 100 fastest growing businesses in Tennessee and connect them to relevant small businesses for matchmaking opportunities as well as provide technical support to the small businesses. The initiative will also utilize the regional jobs base camps Mayor Haslam intends to create by working to identify areas for businesses to expand or “outsource” operations within the state.
“There needs to be a strategic effort to evaluate the strengths and opportunities we have with existing Tennessee businesses and do more to promote matchmaking and growth within our state,” continued Haslam.
“When a Tennessee company is looking for a supplier for a particular good or service, we should make sure they can easily connect with another Tennessee business that can provide it,” Haslam said.
Mayor Haslam is spending Week Three of his three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in East Tennessee, and today he is touring Sullivan, Washington, and Hamblen counties. Friday’s events include a small business roundtable, facility tours, meetings with economic development professionals, and knocking on neighborhood doors. The remainder of the schedule for the East Tennessee swing of the Jobs Tour can be found below.
Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Bill is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.
Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.