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CHICAGO — Today, Mayor Emanuel unveiled the Neighborhood Small Business Growth Strategy, the City’s first strategy designed for neighborhood small business growth and his latest initiative to ensure that every part of the city share in its economic growth and success. The Neighborhood Small Business Growth Strategy will make new resources and services available to small businesses via the City’s 73 neighborhood chambers of commerce, strengthen the ties between entrepreneurs and their communities, unveil new approaches to driving customers to commercial corridors, and enlist small business in making their communities safer.
“I am committed to bringing economic growth and vitality to every corner of Chicago, and the city’s small businesses are critical to the health of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emanuel, “My administration will work with the Small Business Advisory Council, our neighborhood chambers of commerce, and our federal and state partners to implement this strategy and expand upon our other efforts to make this city a great place to start and grown a small business.”
The Neighborhood Small Business Growth Strategy has multiple components and approaches that are designed to strengthen and support small businesses in every neighborhood in Chicago. First, the Emanuel Administration will revamp its relationship with the City-funded chambers of commerce to provide them with additional tools and resources to deliver better services to our small businesses. The City will also provide each chamber with a City Hall point of contact to help eliminate unnecessary City roadblocks and expedite applications that are caught in backlogs. Next, the Small Business Center will partner with local chambers of commerce to facilitate networking, education, and mentorship efforts at the neighborhood level and unveil new initiatives to drive new businesses and foot traffic to neighborhood commercial corridors. And finally, the neighborhood chambers of commerce will coordinate with the Chicago Police Department to help empower small businesses to take steps that will help reduce and prevent crime. The strategy can be accessed HERE.
Mayor Emanuel also announced today that he is appointing a Small Business Advisory Council consisting of leaders across the small business community including, entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce, business education groups, and small business lenders. The council will report directly to the newly appointed Chief Small Business Officer, Roxanne Nava. The Committee includes Jonathan Brereton CEO, Accion; Helen Cameron Co-owner, Uncommon Ground; Lori Carter Owner, the Original Soul Vegetarian; Ken Coats President, KENTECH Consulting Inc.; Steve DeBretto Executive Director, the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago; Emilia DiMenco Chief Operating Officer, Women’s Business Development Center; Omar Duque CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Nilda Esparza Executive Director, Little Village Chamber of Commerce; Melinda Kelly Executive Director, Chatham Business Association; Donald Laackman President, Harold Washington College; Lou Manfredini Retail Store Owner/ Television Personality; Marianne Markowitz Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; Bruce Montgomery Vice President, Black Metropolis Technology Commission; and Mary O’Connor, Alderwoman 41st Ward.
“With the expertise and diverse background of this incredible group of individuals, the Small Business Advisory Committee will ensure that the voices and needs of the small business owners from every corner of the City are heard and that City Hall is responsive to their needs,” said Nava. “Our efforts will help keep small business owners focused on running and expanding their businesses, not navigated through red tape at City Hall. I look forward to hearing from and working with the Committee on this critical goal.”
“I am pleased to be working with the Mayor's Office on exploring new ways to better utilize our local Chambers of Commerce. The Neighborhood Small Business Growth Strategy will provide Chambers with the resources they need to create an ongoing dialogue between our local business districts and our residential communities, which in turn will foster economic growth for each of our neighborhoods,” said Alderman Mary O’Conner, who serves on the Small Business Advisory Committee. “I am very much looking forward to working with Chief Small Business Officer Roxanne Nava and the committee to retain the small businesses our residents treasure while still working to attract new businesses to our City.”
The Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team worked with the Small Business Center and over 200 small businesses and small business community leaders to develop the Neighborhood Small Business Strategy. Over the course of this year, the Innovation Delivery Team met with leadership from over a dozen neighborhood chambers of commerce as well as many of the City’s sector-based chambers of commerce to identify and assess challenges faced by neighborhood small businesses.
Chicago is one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Since launching in November 2011, the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team has spearheaded a business license reform ordinance that reduced the number of license categories by 60 percent, launched the Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership to help home and apartment building owners save thousands of dollars on their energy bills, and helped design the Small Business Center to serve as a one-stop-shop for small businesses. Part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, Innovation Delivery Team grants were also awarded to Atlanta, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.
Source : City of Chicago