TULLAHOMA, TENN. May 8, 2020 — A mid-America think tank affiliated with the Walton Foundation, has released a new study, and the Tullahoma-Manchester Micropolitan Statistical Area is rated significantly for its entrepreneurial ecosystem’s capacity to foster strong growth.
In their report “Young Firms and Regional Economic Growth: Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurs Critical,” the study demonstrates how knowledge-intensive and Main Street entrepreneurs are critical to long-term economic success.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based Heartland Forward Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “think and do tank” focused on improving economic performance in the center of the United States.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas that started with stronger entrepreneurial ecosystems, as measured by the share of total employment at firms age five years or fewer (young firm employment share) and by the share of employment at those young firms with a bachelor’s degree or higher (young firm knowledge intensity), saw notably faster employment growth between 2010 and 2017 in the United States.
“The Tullahoma-Manchester, Tennessee area is ranked seventh overall nationally, and first among Heartland communities, with 26.1 percent of employees at young-firms with a bachelor’s degree or above,” states the article.
The article points out that the presence of Arnold AFB and AEDC has served as a catalyst for growing a larger number of these types of young-firms.
“The micropolitan area is the home of Arnold Air Force Base, and more importantly for economic development efforts, the Arnold Engineering Development Complex,” the study states.
“These facilities are among the most extensive in the nation in testing aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, rocket, and turbine engine test cells and other advanced systems. The micro area has extensive engineering talent and support firms for these activities,” it concludes.
The Tullahoma-Manchester Micropolitan Statistical Area is composed of Coffee, Franklin and Moore counties in southern middle Tennessee, and is one of 536 such areas in the United States.
Ross DeVol, president of the Institute, also shares that the report’s recommendations are, in light of the severe impact of Covid-19 on the nation’s economy, now more important than ever in helping to guide the economic recovery needed.
“In short, we need to get entrepreneurs and the young-firms they create out of intensive care to put the U.S. economy back on the road to recovery,” he stated.
“While the big government financial programs will assist many in surviving the pandemic, they will need an ecosystem of services to flourish and grow,” he added.
Tullahoma City Administrator Jennifer Moody, who also serves as part of a 3-person team facilitating the area’s participation in TVA’s new Community Innovation Academy program remarked that this study emphasizers the importance of continuing to strengthen the economic environment for entrepreneurs in preparing for growth in the area.
“The key findings and implications section of this study confirms our efforts being made to support entrepreneurs and our reasons for advocating participation in the TVA Innovation Academy,” stated Moody.
“The study mentions us as being one of the micros with ‘unique characteristics’ that has led to highly educated start-up workforces,” she continued. “Which is why we can benefit greatly by building on our successes to grow and promote entrepreneurs and firms at every opportunity,” she concluded.
Tullahoma Area Economic Development Board Chairman Lynn Sebourn echoed Moody’s support of the findings of the study.
“We know of the growing number of new entrepreneurial firms and business start-ups that are contributing to our economic base,” Sebourn said. “We need to do everything possible to support and encourage these firms, and, hopefully, more to come like them,” he added.
“We all benefit when new, well-paying jobs are created in our local economy,” he concluded.
Winston Brooks, Tullahoma Community Development Director, and Shelley Smith, Downtown Coordinator, remarked that this study complements their work in building the economic base of Tullahoma’s central business district.
“We have been working with our Downtown Committee to help guide the growth and development of our downtown area, including utilizing a new branding effort and strategy to have downtown Tullahoma become an innovation and entrepreneurial hub for the region,” said Brooks. “This study shows we already have a great base for moving forward with our efforts,” he added.
“At Motlow, we have announced and begun the roll-out of an exciting new program to help entrepreneurs develop, start and grow their businesses in this region,” Smith said.
“We are reaching out to people and businesses throughout our entire service region to come together for this purpose, and so the strong ratings that the study shows will help all of us to market our program as well as strengthen the businesses we are supporting through this collaboration,” she concluded.
United States Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MicSA), as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), are labor market areas in the United States centered on an urban cluster (urban area) with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.
The micropolitan area designation was created in 2003. Like the better-known Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), a micropolitan area is a geographic entity used for statistical purposes based on counties and county equivalents.
For more information:
Thomas Robinson, Executive Director
Tullahoma Area EDC (TAEDC)