It’s been an incredible year for Lincoln and for the Chamber.  The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce was named a finalist for Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).  This honor validates the hard work of the Chamber staff, board of directors and many volunteers and community supporters.  Chamber of the Year recognizes excellence in operations, member services, and community leadership.

Through an unprecedented coalition of the big three state chambers the Lincoln Chamber and our board leaders were instrumental in forging the first significant CIR reform in forty years. The Chamber successfully advocated for major legislative wins in innovation and economic development policy, with the enactment of the Talent & Innovation agenda:

• Nebraska Internship Program (LB 386)

• Business and Innovation Act (LB 387)

• Angel Investment Tax Credit (LB 389)

• Nebraska Innovation Campus $25 million appropriation (LB 377)

• Small Business Innovation Act (LB 345)

• Site and Building Development Fund (LB 388)

The Chamber led efforts to host a successful Legislative Summit involving Nebraska’s entire Federal Delegation as well as many of our state and local representatives.  Road and Infrastructure financing continues to be a top priority.  The Chamber was influential in securing $7 million additional city general funds and wheel tax dollars to improve and expand the city’s road network. At the state level, the Chamber continued our active advocacy and won passage of LB 84, the Build Nebraska Act. LB 84 signaled a major victory.

Lincoln hosted one of the Midwest’s premiere aviation events featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at the Guardians of Freedom Airshow which was a partnership between the Lincoln Chamber, and the Nebraska Air National Guard.  This had a significant positive impact on our state and local economies having an over $10 million dollar impact (including the Nebraska football game) and an estimated attendance of over 200,000.

One of the year’s highlights was businesses’ most prominent icon Steve Forbes headlining our largest member event of the year.  TalentLNK, a program designed to keep talented interns in Lincoln had over 100 participants in its inaugural year. The best investment a company can make is in its workforce which is why the Chamber created TalentLNK, a program designed to keep talented workers in Lincoln.

The Partnership assisted with economic development projects that created 945 new jobs and $120 million in new investment.  These projects included major expansions at Duncan Aviation, World’s Foremost Bank and Plastics Company Enterprises as well as the start-up of Nebraska Global.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau continues to receive the praise of its peers and Lincoln continues to be a hub for travel and tourism. A total of over 78 new events were booked by the CVB this year. Two new international events chose Lincoln as the site for their upcoming events.  Largest participation yet in the BE A TOURIST campaign with a 32% increase in passports completed and was awarded Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award winner for this program.

Membership numbers continue to strengthen during an uncertain economy and are at 1,538 members to date.  As other chambers from across the country have struggled due to economic pressures, the Lincoln Chamber’s membership continues to grow. Ribbon cuttings and ground breaking ceremonies for our member businesses reached all-time highs, with over 100 this year. It truly is a great time to be in Lincoln, Nebraska and there is no better time to join the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together.  Networking opportunities, business advocacy, and creating economic viability are critical to our success.  We encourage you to become a member and help us achieve these goals for Lincoln.

For more information, please contact Paul at (402) 436-2350.

by Wendy Birdsall, President
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce