A century ago, Chattanooga was a center of industry and innovation. The Coca Cola Bottling Companies were born there, and the city prospered from growth in heavy industry including metal foundries. But by the 1970s, heavy industry began to shrink dramatically in the face of global competition, leaving the city with high unemployment, an under-skilled workforce and a legacy of polluted air.

Then the electric company owned by the city began investing in fiber optics to improve its own operations. As part of the build-out, it introduced low-cost, high-performance broadband to business and residents. When it launched 1 gig service in 2010, city government responded by creating America’s first Gig City brand as an “open for business” sign for innovators. Meanwhile the city spurred collaboration among the educators and foundations to upskill residents and create a digital workforce and institutions to serve them. By 2017, Chattanooga had become one of the country’s 25 fastest growing cities.

How did Chattanooga do it? Find out.

How have other communities learned to accelerate?

Learn from the story of Chattanooga and much more in the Community Accelerator online training course, Innovation: Building an Ecosystem for Growth. One hour of your time will pay big dividends in your work.

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