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Tennessee Leaders, Tech Experts Highlight Role of Digital Services in Promoting Innovation and Economic Vitality

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (October 6, 2020) – State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and Tennessee business leaders joined industry experts for a discussion about the role technology platforms and digital services can play to boost Tennessee’s small businesses during and after the pandemic. The “Tech Forward Webcast: How Technology Is Fueling The Tennessee Recovery & Growing the Tennessee Economy” was hosted by Jake Ward, president of the Connected Commerce Council, a non-profit membership organization representing digitally empowered small businesses.

Leader Johnson highlighted Tennessee’s reputation for promoting innovation and economic vitality. “Tennessee is well-known for supporting innovation and promoting economic prosperity,” said Johnson. He also emphasized how digital tools are helping businesses grow during challenging times. “With the help of technology, small businesses are able to sustain themselves and recover at a faster rate,” Johnson said, “by providing new opportunities for owners to promote their business and connect with their customers.”

Justin Owen, president of the Beacon Center, expressed his hope for how small businesses would utilize digital tools to stay competitive. “By promoting access to the wide range of digital tools available to small businesses, I hope to see small businesses spread their network and access tools that may have otherwise been out of reach,” said Owen.

Owen also noted the Beacon Center’s commitment to small businesses during the pandemic, saying, “The Beacon Center is committed to providing resources to help Tennessee’s small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Gallatin Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kim Baker reiterated her efforts to help businesses come back stronger from the pandemic’s economic challenges, saying: “The path to economic recovery looks different than business as usual for many. We look forward to partnering with our business community to implement technology as a way to support them through this challenging time.”

Small business owner Nell Kedrow spoke about the challenges her company faces in the wake of COVID-19. “As a small business owner, I am experiencing firsthand the challenges of our new economic landscape,” said Kedrow. She also noted the positive role digital tools are playing in helping her company stay afloat: “I am grateful for access to digital resources that allowed us to remain safe and prosperous through the shutdown and subsequent reopening process. These new tools will help us continue to grow even after we have recovered from the pandemic.”

Alec Stapp of Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) spoke about the current state of play for policy and regulation in the technology sector, and he highlighted current policy remedies proposed in D.C. He also briefly touched on how efforts by state attorneys general to regulate technology companies could backfire and hurt consumers.

To view a recording of the webinar, visit

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