World Business Chicago (WBC) today hosted a panel discussion on economic growth clusters and cities with leaders accompanying Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on a business mission to Chicago. The panel discussion, held at Chicago’s digital entrepreneurial hub, 1871, also included business leaders from the Chicago area.
The Toronto delegation’s visit aims at renewing the partnership between the two cities and identifying opportunities to grow investment, enhance the business climate and stimulate greater job growth in both Chicago and Toronto.
“I look forward to expanding Chicago’s relationship with Toronto and exploring opportunities to bolster both cities’ economic opportunity,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago will continue to foster regional efforts, dialogue and interaction, strengthening mutually beneficial partnerships and creating many jobs for our residents.”
The panel included Michael Sacks, CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management, and Vice Chairman, WBC; J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner, The Pritzker Group, and Founder, New World Ventures; Thomas A. Kloet, CEO, TMX Group; and Robert Deluce, President and CEO, Porter Airlines, and was moderated by Janet Ecker, President, Toronto Financial Service Alliance.
“Chicago’s economic diversity and the strength of its growth clusters are key assets highlighted in World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs,” said Sacks. “Today’s discussion focused on how world-class cities such as Chicago and Toronto can utilize these assets in order to flourish in the new global economy.”
The Chicago area is the only region in the United States projected to pass the threshold that defines a “megacity”— a metropolitan population of more than 10 million people by 2030. The discussion focused on how both cities can maximize potential based on growth clusters.
The Chicago region’s economic base is exceptionally diverse, with no single sector comprising more than 13 percent of total employment. Approximately two-thirds of its total 2010 output came from its largest and strongest sectors: finance and business services, wholesale and retail, manufacturing, health care, and transportation and logistics.
Chicago and Toronto share many qualities that make this business mission a good opportunity for both cities. Both are economically and culturally diverse, a match that creates favorable conditions for two-way trade and investment. The cities are connected by 149 weekly nonstop flights, and both boast thriving financial and business services sectors.
"I'm very pleased with the response from the business community to this mission," said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, and Team Toronto co-chair. "This is a real opportunity to build relationships that will ultimately benefit both cities."
The Toronto delegation included more than 70 government and business leaders representing a wide spectrum of industries and sectors. More than 60 Chicago-area business and civic leaders also attended the discussion.
There are more than 47 Chicago-area companies in Toronto. In addition, there are some 200 Canadian-based companies in Chicago – many of which are from the Toronto area. Chicago and Toronto’s mayors will renew their sister cities commitments at a signing later in the day.