According to Cobb President and CEO Sharon Mason, Cobb County is undeniably booming. As leader of one of the top three chambers in the nation, Mason is recruiting thousands of jobs and attracting investment to the area. She also sits on the board of IgniteHQ where her expertise and connection translates into real startup successes.
We caught up with Sharon Mason to ask her about the latest business development in the county and what factors are driving Cobb’s economic transformation.
How is Cobb Chamber making it inviting for startups to build and launch businesses in Cobb County?
Working with our partners, we have intentionally focused in many ways to make Cobb the top place where entrepreneurs can start, grow and prosper. In 2014, the Cobb Chamber partnered with KSU to start IgniteHQ, to accelerate and connect startups and entrepreneurs with international accelerators, funding opportunities and talent to scale globally. We have also advocated for the resources needed for entrepreneurs to prosper in Cobb and are proud of our elected leadership that have invested in incentives for new entrepreneurs starting out of IgniteHQ. We also focus most of our Cobb Chamber programming around helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to have access to new networks, mentors, strategic marketing, leadership development and resources that accelerate their growth.
Can you provide us with a high-level 2019 Q1 update about business development in Cobb?
Cobb is booming and is attracting businesses of all sizes from startups to Fortune 100 and 500 global headquarters to relocate or expand. A few recent examples of relocation or expansion announcements include Thyssenkrupp’s North American headquarters, BioIQ global headquarters, Empire Distributors headquarters as well as the expansion of the global headquarters of Floor & Décor, Carestream Dental, The Home Depot, Arylessence, and Elf on the Shelf, to name a few.
Prior to our Select Cobb strategy, we were recruiting about 1,000 jobs per year and now in the last six years working with our many partners, we have recruited more than 29,000 high quality jobs and more than $2.7 billion in private new investment for our community across a number of industries. In the last two years, we have tripled the number of companies we are courting to recruit to Cobb or help expand. More young professionals are moving to Cobb at a 26% increase. There are many reasons for this significant growth including the vibrant environment many new developments have created, access to top workforce talent, low taxes, and strong quality of life assets.
What kind of economic impact are startups having on Cobb County?
Startups are having a tremendous economic impact on Cobb County and will continue to be major drivers of job creation. We have only just begun to see the economic impact and innovation from the companies starting in Cobb now. There are many examples of companies at all stages of growth and I look forward to seeing the many great success stories continuing to come out of IgniteHQ.
What advice do you have for a founder who wants to launch or scale their business?
Take advantage of learning from the mentors at IgniteHQ and in Cobb to help you. Reach out to the network of entrepreneurs to share and help each other. Get involved at the Cobb Chamber and utilize its resources to help small businesses. Cobb is the top place for entrepreneurs to thrive and we look forward to help you achieve more and have a successful business.
To learn more about economic development in Cobb County, please go to https://selectcobb.com/.