Think ‘Georgia first’

Imagine the impact if Georgia companies did more business with each other — if we all thought “Georgia first” when purchasing goods or services. That’s the goal of Georgia2Georgia, an initiative recently announced by the Georgia Chamber.

Its purpose is as simple as its name: To encourage the idea of doing more business with the companies that create jobs, contribute to our tax base and support communities statewide.

Why is this so important? Because stronger companies lead to stronger communities. Stronger communities lead to a stronger state. That benefits not only the businesses of Georgia, but all of its citizens.

The idea for this initiative came about when the Georgia Chamber worked with Gov. Nathan Deal and the Department of Economic Development on the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative.

As we traveled the state, we heard how hard it was for entrepreneurs to build customer bases. They told us how only small differences in price sometimes lost a Georgia company business, and how there often was a lack of awareness about a company next door. We asked ourselves what we could do as a state chamber to help. One of the answers became Georgia2Georgia.

Throughout the coming year, we will be focused on building this grassroots effort, working with our members, local chambers of commerce, local governments and other partners dedicated to growing our economy.

One of the first ways we have asked companies to get involved is to take our 2 percent challenge. That’s a commitment to try to do just two 2 percent more business with fellow Georgia companies (any company with a presence in our state) this year. While this may seem like a small increment, any increase in business has a positive impact on a company as it works to create jobs, increase productivity and grow its presence in the overall economy.

If we all do our part, those “2 percents” will add up quickly and lead to more jobs, increased investment and an expanded tax base that can better support our schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

Georgia2Georgia will help our state’s efforts to continue to recruit new industry by enhancing our reputation as a supportive business environment. It will also be a great complement to the Department of Agriculture’s successful Georgia Grown program, which steadily increases demand for locally grown products.

This initiative is an important component of what the Georgia Chamber is doing to ensure our state continues to receive accolades, such as Site Selection magazine’s recent ranking of Georgia as the No. 1 place in the nation to conduct business.

Georgia2Georgia has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. We look forward to sharing its success stories throughout the year. To become a part of this initiative or to take the 2 percent challenge, visit

Ernest Greer is the 2014 chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.