Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

2023 Annual Report: A Year of Generational Impact

February 1, 2024

The Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) is looking back at a successful 2023 with the release of its 2023 Annual Report.

“We are helping build a sustainable foundation that meets the needs of Cherokee today and Cherokee tomorrow,” writes COED Chairman Marshall Day in his letter that opens the 2023 report. “We are committed to a generational impact in our community and are ready to show you what it means to be in Cherokee By Choice.”

Attract, Retain, and Align Talent

This year, COED continued to work toward the goal of attracting, retaining, and aligning talent in Cherokee through programs and initiatives like Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, the Cherokee Career Expo, the Cherokee Workforce Collaborative and the Cherokee Summer Internship Program.

Participation in these programs reached record numbers – with over 230 registered Career Expo job seekers, 60 Cherokee Summer Intern applicants. 85 Workforce Collaborative members, and more. Over the course of the year, there were over 11,500 visitors to COED’s Cherokee Career Portal.

COED Vice President Heath Tippens also earned statewide recognition for leadership by accepting the Georgia Economic Developers Association’s 2023 Committee Chair of the Year for his service as Chair of the Workforce Development and Existing Industry Committee.

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia

COED’s statewide workforce initiative Be Pro Be Proud Georgia continued to flourish in 2023.

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia was featured in Georgia Trend Magazine as an innovative collaboration that is building a resilient workforce statewide. Georgia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Chris Clark spoke on the impact of Be Pro Be Proud Georgia at a 2023 Cherokee By Choice investor meeting.

“Efforts like the Be Pro Be Proud Georgia initiative is just one example to fundamentally change an education system often too burdened by tradition,” said Clark.

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia hosted its third annual Skilled Professions Signing Day, celebrating 36 Cherokee County high school seniors for their post-graduate commitment to pursuing advanced technical training or a career in the skilled professions.

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia made 94 tour stops across the state in 2023, reaching almost 18,000 Georgia students.


As the manager of Cherokee’s Camera Ready Program, COED continued to foster a community of creatives. COED launched the Quarterly Cherokee Filmmaker’s Meetup to connect local filmmakers with one another and with local opportunities.

Over the course of the year, Cherokee saw 35 filmed projects, 92 inquiries, and over 77,000 interactions on the free Filmed In Cherokee mobile app.

Grow Innovative Business, Investment, and Jobs

COED sought to support local businesses in 2023 with the launch of the Latino Business Roundtable, International Business Council, and Fresh Start Mornings program.

COED also facilitated the Cherokee Small Business Grant program in partnership with Cherokee County. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Cherokee County allocated $1 million to this critical backbone of the economy. 74 Cherokee businesses received a grant.

The Circuit cowork space continued to offer startups an affordable, local location to build their business here in Cherokee.

The North Atlanta Venture Mentoring Service (NAV) grew its ventures by 75%, with 69% of ventures being minority-owned. NAV continues to offer free, team-based mentoring to startups looking to scale in the North Atlanta region.

Throughout 2023 COED supported new and expanding industries with events like the Movers & Makers celebration, announcing $50 million in new capital investment, 10 expansions and locations, and 787 engagements with existing industry.

Develop Infrastructure and Product

Canton saw a historic re-development with the Jones Building. 2023 Movers & Makers honorees Penn Hodge and Grant Schmeelk purchased the almost 40,000 square-foot historic building and turned it into a mixed-use facility with retail and office space.

Progress continued to be made on the City of Woodstock City Center and 647-car parking deck, as well as the City of Holly Spring’s Town Center project.

COED began taking steps to put more product in place within The Bluffs, which has over 60 acres in sites ready for corporate locations. COED also began working to bring sewer to a new 86-acre site adjacent to the Cherokee County Regional Airport.

Overall, Cherokee has 260 acres for future corporate growth and COED facilitated 1,400 linear feet of sewer engineered in 2023.

Cherokee By Choice 2.0

COED wrapped the Cherokee By Choice 2.0 capital campaign. Cherokee By Choice 2.0 has a projected impact of 3,907 total jobs, $222 million total new payroll, $127 million new personal consumer expenditure, and $68 million new bank deposits.

Without the help of Cherokee By Choice investors, and those that choose Cherokee again and again, none of this would be possible. We are excited to get to work and make 2024 another year of success!

View the full report here.

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