The Greater Memphis Chamber on Tuesday announced two new initiatives, one to steer the body into the next decade and a second to help reduce the financial burden for small businesses struggling to provide health insurance for employees.
Both were announced during the annual chairman's lunch at The Peabody hotel.
Chamber president Beverly Robertson announced the partnership with UnitedHealthcare to provide level-funded health insurance plans, in which the employer pays a set amount monthly, and possibly can receive any surplus at the end of the year to reinvest into their business.
"It's a simple way to make health care costs more predictable and transparent. And rates based on risks also mean you can see substantial savings," she said.
In the future, Robertson said the program could expand to include options for dental and vision insurance and even pet insurance for veterinarian visits.
"Small businesses as you know, are increasingly burdened by the rising costs of health care. That's why I'm so excited to be here today," said Steve Wilson, CEO for UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-South.
Wilson said more information about how businesses can sign up will be released in the coming months.
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The chamber also announced its "Vision 2030" plan on Tuesday, "a strategic data-driven initiative aimed at addressing key areas of competitiveness to position Memphis as a top destination for inclusive economic growth," Robertson said.
The plan focuses on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure improvements, creation of quality jobs and improved access to jobs for Memphians. Vision 2030 relies heavily on data, Robertson said.
The data shows Memphis has to build a workforce ready for the next generation of advanced jobs, prioritize economic inclusion and attract more jobs in advanced industries.
"Make no mistake. We're not waiting for these businesses to come to us. We are identifying the businesses that we need to have here, that are aligned with the assets of the marketplace, and we're going after them," Robertson said.
Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer for the chamber, also emphasized the importance of data in guiding the chamber over the next decade.
The recently-launched Center for Economic Competitiveness will collect and analyze data on Memphis' workforce and economy as well as those of competitor cities to guide decisions about economic development in the coming decade.
"As much as we love data, we understand what this data represents. Every job we bring means food on the table. Every certification and degree we award opens new doors of opportunity for everyone. Every company that invests in Memphis means more money to pave roads and hire police officers. But for us, this is about making good on the chamber's promise to Memphis and our mission of prosperity for all," he said.
Corinne S Kennedy covers economic development, healthcare and soccer for The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached via email at Corinne.Kennedy@CommercialAppeal.com
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Greater Memphis Chamber announces UnitedHealthcare partnership