Unexpected Ways That Bicycling Is Proving a Boon for Business
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For one thing Mayor A C Wharton became a champion of biking, announcing, “We believe in the power of bicycle facilities to enhance the health, economy and safety of our community.” He hired a bike-pedestrian coordinator for the city and put plans into motion that led to more than 60 miles of bike lanes.
Memphis business leaders began talking about the importance of biking to city’s future. Shepherd Tate—an attorney at the large Bass, Berry & Sims law firm—puts it plainly. “There’s no question about it. Biking makes a difference in attracting talent.” Eric Matthews, CEO of Launch Memphis and two other initiatives to nurture and attract new businesses, notes, “Biking correlates with entrepreneurs.”
The city, already home to the world famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is positioning itself to become a center for new biomedical firms. “My job is to convince emerging companies that they can get the workers they want to come here,” says Dr. Steven Bares, President of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, an initiative to bring emerging health companies to Memphis. “The bike is part of the overall strategy to compete for talent.”