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Many highlights in 2015 for Forsyth Chamber of Commerce
Economic opportunity for all is top priority
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About Progress 2016

The titles and rankings seem to come in droves each year.

From health and wealth to education and youth, most Forsyth residents know the county is at the forefront of north Georgia and the state in various factors that help shape quality of life.

These factors — which residents embrace and have come to expect — carry their share of numbers. Indeed, politicians and others are fond of touting such statistics.

With that in mind, the staff of the Forsyth County News contacted government and school officials, business owners and public safety personnel to compile some interesting and easy-to-read figures from the past year.

About the Chamber of Commerce

Founded in 1952, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce is the community’s leading advocate and champion for business. Its primary objective is to create a climate of growth and success in the community. By leveraging the support, talent and resources of its members, the chamber is one of the leading organizations helping to improve the economic vitality and quality of life for everyone in the community. For more information, contact the chamber at (770) 887-6461.

By the numbers

8,007 - Businesses in the county
98,289 - Number of jobs
4.1% - Unemployment rate
205,400 - Population
3,100 - Babies born

To read the entire Progress 2016 edition, click here.

Economies are built upon relationship and leadership. The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce plays an integral part in facilitating those relationships and fostering strong leaders.

We are the sole economic development entity in the community. The chamber acts as an avenue to channel the incredible collective resources of great business people to create economic opportunity for all.

That opportunity is what makes this community remarkable and sets it apart from so many places around the world.

I am honored to serve as chairman of the chamber’s board of directors during such an exciting time. In 2015, the organization gained more than 200 new members and 13 new Chairman’s Cabinet members, our highest level of investors.

Forsyth County’s unemployment rate has decreased to 4.9 percent, in comparison to the state unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. Twelve companies announced the creation of more than 540 new jobs and nearly $40 million dollars in new capital investment in 2015.

This type of success is critical to helping balance the property tax base in Forsyth between residential and commercial. Having a more balanced property tax base will help support continued improvements in our infrastructure and educational facilities.

The chamber holds hundreds of events weekly, monthly and annually to promote networking. Those include Member Power Networking Lunches, Business After Hours and Women Who Mean Business events.

In August, the Business Advancement Resource held the Business Expo with more than 400 attendees. In 2015, the BAR assisted more than 800 small businesses by providing classes, roundtable discussions, business coaching and mentoring.

The chamber’s director of tourism attended three key tradeshows last year to promote local venues to organizations that bring amateur sports tournaments and festivals to our community.

From these tradeshows, nearly 30 new leads were secured in the sports market alone. With these events come hotel room reservations. In 2015, the chamber secured more than 8,100 hotel room nights through these events.

In 2016, you can expect to see the chamber announcing new collaborative initiatives with our partners to better serve entrepreneurs, startups and even local craftsmen and women.

The chamber will also be more competitive in recruiting commercial films to our community. In addition, we hope to complete the certification of the vote to approve the South Forsyth Community Improvement District.

There are some in our community who do not share our belief that new jobs and business growth are good for our community. The reality is that Forsyth and neighboring counties will continue to grow. The challenge is to manage this inevitable growth in such a way that it creates opportunities for all.

This is an exciting and pivotal time in our history. Together we can ensure that Forsyth County continues to be the premier community in the country to live, work and play.

Bruce Hagenau is chairman of Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.