The history of 150 years of service to business and industry
Twice named Chamber of the Year by its peers, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber has grown to become the fifth largest chamber in the nation.
Much of the Chamber's growth is attributable to a wide array of services - economic development, business retention, governmental advocacy, member benefit programs, business information, education and training, marketing and volunteer opportunities. The Chamber's extensive palette of programs serves businesses, large and small, across the Tristate.
A key theme for the Chamber at the turn of the new century has focused on regional cooperation, with the Chamber acting as a catalyst on many important fronts across 13 counties in three states. Nowhere is regional cooperation more evident than in the competitive arena of economic development. From the end of the Blue Chip Campaign until 2014, the Chamber spearheaded the efforts through the Partnership for Greater Cincinnati, a consortium of regional economic development partners, with a goal of promoting Greater Cincinnati nationally and internationally through a strong, unified message. The Partnership's goal was job growth, especially in the high-tech and research-and-development industries.
In March of 2014, the Chamber's economic development efforts were spun-off in a new, wholly-owned LLC; REDI Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Business Committee and the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee contributed input and leadership, and now more than a dozen investors are backing REDI Cincinnati including JobsOhio, the private, non-profit corporation designed to lead job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts.
When it comes to promoting Greater Cincinnati as a "region on the move," the Chamber and REDI Cincinnati have plenty to talk about. The region's spirit is reflected in a new $1-billion riverfront, with a futuristic stadium for the Cincinnati Bengals, an intimate ballpark for the Cincinnati Reds, a revamped Fort Washington Way, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Smale Park, an expansive downtown riverfront park system.
National media have taken notice of Cincinnati's upswing. The New York Times reported that "Cincinnati exemplifies the cities driving the U.S. economy." Fortune Magazine added that the Tristate is one of the top 10 cities in the nation to live and work, and Yahoo! Magazine rated Cincinnati in the top 25 of "wired" U.S. cities. The revival of the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood north of downtown is generating national interest, and has become a point of pride. In 2016, a downtown streetcar system will open, connecting the central business district with OTR. Another driver of economic growth for the region has been the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, consistently named one of the top airports in the world for convenience.
In its leading role for small business, the Chamber has been an advocate for collaboration by regional chambers, bringing together resources for educational, networking and legislative efforts. The alliance allows the chambers to serve members more effectively, and to speak out to legislators on important governmental issues affecting business.
Helping the bottom line of member companies, large and small, is the Chamber's family of member benefit programs. By leveraging the Chamber's strength in numbers, the programs deliver substantial group discounts on health insurance, worker's compensation group rating and claims administration, cellular and long-distance phone service, and life and disability insurance. These bottom-line benefit programs have helped fuel a 50% increase in Chamber membership since 1990, with nearly two-thirds of the members participating in one or more programs.
Chamber educational programs cover wide ranges of business topics, including a highly acclaimed strategic planning course, which enables growth-oriented companies to develop customized strategic plans. CEO Roundtables offer executives the chance to discuss common concerns with an informal board of advisors, while the Chamber's Business Information Center provides important publications and data that businesses need to stay one step ahead. Networking opportunities allow businesspeople to meet potential customers in friendly, productive settings.
Perhaps the fastest growing area of Chamber's services are its digital media offerings. Beginning in 1995, the Chamber has been building a network of high traffic websites including www.cincinnatichamber.com. CincinnatiChamber.com allows desktop and mobile users to register for Chamber events, maintain their accounts, subscribe to digital newsletters, purchase lists, and search a database of more than 10,000 businesses for key company information such as type of business, management personnel, number of employees, contact info and more.
As a new century dawns, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is more committed than ever to doing what those founders envisioned in 1839 - "making great businesses greater."
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