BBA reports 35 projects, 1,240+ jobs and $518M invested in Birmingham in 2020

Construction along 1st Avenue North. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

On Tuesday, February 2nd, the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) reported on their findings for the seven-county region over the past year. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 brought several promising developments to the Birmingham area. Here’s what we learned.

2021 BBA Chairman’s Meeting

Birmingham Business Alliance
On February 2nd, the BBA met over Zoom to discuss the past year.

Each year, the BBA hosts a Chairman’s Meeting to report on their findings over the past year. Although the circumstances of this year’s meeting were a bit different—over a Zoom call rather than in person—the BBA had very positive numbers to report on the past year.

“At the BBA, we have an open-door policy. I believe in transparency and accountability—in fact, in my last book I included my personal cell phone number and email because I believe you have to be connected to people to be responsive. You will continue to find that transparency at the BBA.”

Ron Kitchens, President and CEO, Birmingham Business Alliance

Another highlight of Tuesday’s meeting was the introduction and installation of the new president and CEO of the BBA, Ron Kitchens. In addition to a 30-year career in economic development, Mr. Kitchens serves as Senior Partner and CEO of Southwest Michigan First, an economic development firm in Michigan. Click here to learn more about Ron Kitchens.

Here are the Highlights

35 New Projects with 1,240 Jobs, $518M in Capital Investments

Birmingham Business Alliance
Nine of the large-scale projects that were announced in Birmingham last year. Graphic via BBA

In 2020, I remember being amazed by the seemingly-endless announcements of businesses developing new facilities in Birmingham. After seeing the BBA’s list of large-scale projects in the region last year, I’m even more amazed. In 2020, the BBA helped facilitate 35 big projects in the Birmingham area, including nine that were newcomers to the region.

Here are nine of the biggest:

Aid for Small, Local Companies

Birmingham, murals
There’s no question our Magic City remains #BhamStrong. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Part of the BBA’s mission to cultivate a thriving, high-quality economy for the people of Birmingham includes support for small, local businesses. During the challenging time period of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the BBA provided support to more than 700 local organizations. In addition, the BBA aided 119 companies through BHAMSTRONG, a public-private partnership that provided desperately-needed resources before the CARES Act took effect.

Promoting Birmingham to the World

Birmingham Business Alliance
OnBoard Birmingham helps promote The Magic City to entrepreneurs, companies and more looking to find a new home. Photo via BBA

In 2020, the BBA launched Onboard Birmingham as a resource for promoting the city to companies and entrepreneurs interested in learning more about the advantages of living and working in The Magic City. On the website, Onboard Birmingham features job opportunities, a cost of living calculator to compare against similar cities and much more.

In December, Bham Now interviewed BBA Interim President and CEO Fred McCallum to learn more about Onboard Birmingham.

What does the BBA have planned for 2021?

Birmingham Business Alliance
With new developments popping up every day, Birmingham is looking forward to the challenges and successes that 2021 will bring. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Despite the challenges of 2020, the BBA has helped put Birmingham on a productive track going forward. With the leadership of Ron Kitchens, the BBA has big plans for 2021, including:

  • A focus on Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
  • The Regional Economic Development Alliance of 50 economic development professionals and officials throughout the region.
  • Partnering with the City of Birmingham on the Industrial Development Board, VITAL minority spending pledge and Business Advisory Services for “missing middle” companies.

“In 2020, Birmingham saw incredible progress—just look how many cranes are in the air. I’m trying to buy a house here, and I’ve never seen a market so tight. It’s an exciting, vibrant time to be in Birmingham.”

Ron Kitchens, President and CEO, Birmingham Business Alliance

What are you looking forward to in 2021? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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