Business Development Manager, Neighborhood Strategic Initiatives

About Neighborhood & Strategic Initiatives: The Neighborhood & Strategic Initiatives department promotes neighborhood strengths as sites for business location and expansion, connects small and medium-sized businesses with opportunities for growth, and creates workforce strategies to build a strong talent pipeline and open pathways to employment.

WBC is seeking a full-time Business Development Manager to work with the Neighborhood & Strategic Initiatives team, supporting small and medium businesses that are seeking to locate or expand in the area, facilitating the retention of companies already in the area, and approaching companies that would benefit from a relocation or expansion in neighborhoods.

Under the direction of the Executive Vice President of Neighborhood and Strategic Initiatives, the Business Development Manager will focus on the following areas:

Business Development Support (Technical Support and Assistance)

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of proactive outreach strategies designed to identify and recruit targeted businesses in neighborhoods (strong focus on retail and industrial)
  • Identify 2ndand 3rdexpansion opportunities of businesses
  • Assist in responding to client requests for information and proposals, including the collection and analysis of real estate opportunities, incentive programs, industry trends, workforce characteristics, business environment and other related information
  • Work with research department to conduct quantitative and qualitative research in connection with special economic development projects
  • Work with marketing department to prepare marketing presentations and promotional materials in connection with business development events and meetings
  • Provide support to the organization for selected tradeshows, professional conferences, and special events
  • Advocate for neighborhoods to encourage investment and economic growth
  • Partner with corporate and nonprofit entities with clients seeking opportunities for job growth in neighborhoods

Strategic Management of Projects, Programs, and Initiatives

  • Develop, project-manage, and launch economic development initiatives internally and externally that drive inclusive economic growth
  • Work with the City of Chicago to support existing programs and initiatives driven by city departments (includes but not limited to: Retail Thrive Zones, Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, SourceLink)
  • Collaborate cross-functionally in several departments to address economic opportunities in neighborhoods

Outreach and Community Engagement

  • Collaborate and maintain relationships with partner economic development agencies and neighborhood organizations
  • Work closely with community partners on programs that support business growth and expansion
  • Attend community and partner events and conferences that support business and job growth in neighborhoods
  • Coordinate and co-organize events that support small and medium business growth in Chicago neighborhoods

The ideal candidate is client-focused, proactive, highly responsive, and results and goal-oriented. Candidate has a strong passion for inclusive economic growth and experience working in underserved and emerging neighborhoods. We seek candidates that are culturally competent and have a strong awareness of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods. Candidates should have excellent project management, verbal communication, written communication, and presentation skills. The candidate should be able to organize and manage information for the production of internal and external reports. The candidate is a team player with strong engagement and work ethic and has the ability to maintain confidentiality. Some travel required.

Minimum of 4 years of experience in economic development or real estate and a bachelor’s degree in business, planning, policy, or a related field is desired. Master’s degree preferred, but not required.

  • Bilingual candidates (English and Spanish) are encouraged
  • At least 4 – 5 years of experience in business services/support, community economic development
  • Familiarity with customer relationship management software
  • Understanding needs of entrepreneurs at various levels including start-up and growth phases
  • Ability to analyze challenges with small/medium (“micro”) businesses and be a problem solver
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite applications
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Professional and respectful communicator with active listening skills
  • Strong understanding of Chicago’s business community and neighborhoods
  • Ability to work well with others in a small, fast-paced, team oriented environment

If Interested, please send a cover letter and resume to


Carrie Simmons

World Business Chicago

177 N. State St., Ste. 500

Chicago, IL  60601