Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) completes first five cohorts

In its first nine months, CASE has built ties between the city’s largest “anchor” institutions and its neighborhood-based businesses. The program, which was launched as part of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, has boosted local firms; increased community and neighborhood vitality; strengthening the region’s business-to-business platform; generating jobs; and helping grow the regional economy.

CASE assesses anchor institutions’ product and service needs and compares those needs with neighborhood business assets to make connections for local suppliers of goods and services. Some of the businesses will also have the opportunity to participate in training to prepare them to respond to those procurement needs. CASE businesses will then have the opportunity to bid on contracts from any of the anchor institutions in the program.

To date, anchor institutions including the City of Chicago, Cook County, ComEd, Illinois Institute of Technology, Rush University Medical Center, University of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, and University of Illinois Chicago, have committed to the program.

The CASE program model was developed by the WBC team in close partnership with the University of Chicago, which approached WBC with an interest in pursuing a local purchasing initiative. The University and the Medical Center began work on a pilot program for CASE in mid-2013 focused on building strategic partnerships with local suppliers.

Through the first five capacity building sessions, many local businesses took important steps to focus on best practices to grow their businesses and strategically plan to seek and win new business bids. Through the first five sessions in nine months, 79 businesses have graduated!

On November 13th 2014, CASE celebrated completion of the first five cohort sessions at the Chicago Innovation Exchange at University of Chicago’s campus in Hyde Park. Here, our partners were able to hear from the program’s two co-chairs, sample local catering bites (delicious!) and learn of some early program successes.

“Our participation in the CASE Program through World Business Chicago has been extremely worthwhile. It was not only quite informative on how to better conduct business with the Chicago Anchors, but also guided us in great detail on identifying opportunities worth pursuing, how to measure profitability per customer and more effective ways of marketing our product and services. I would highly recommend the program to other entrepreneurs.”

– Krista Ward, CEO, Hooray Puree, Inc.

“CASE was worth the time commitment. Everyone who runs their own business understands their industry, but it was refreshing to hear other stories and learn different modes of operation that could help in my own business. The CASE STAFF IS AWESOME.”

– Gerry Ryan, President, Intelligent Design & Construction Solutions, LLC

“The CASE program really helped me better understand which clients to focus on and which were not adding value to our objectives. The team was very knowledgeable and supportive.”

– Anna V. Pappas, President, KnowQSolutions

These 79 businesses come from a variety of industries and unique Chicago neighborhoods

Industries represented as follows:

Consulting and Professional Services, 47%; Food Supplies, Dining and Social Events, 16%; Facilities Services, 9%; Construction, Maintenance & Operations, 8%; Architecture & Engineering, 6%; Signage, 3%; Medical Supplies, 3%; and Other, 9%.

Geographic diversity of businesses:

The early successes of the CASE program were made possible by the commitment of our 11 anchor institutions. The program seeks to grow anchor participation to 20 anchor institutions by the end of 2015!

2014 Anchors

  • Advocate Healthcare
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • City of Chicago
  • Commonwealth Edison
  • Cook County
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern Memorial Healthcare
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Chicago Medical Center
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

In partnership with The Polk Bros. Foundation, Accion, Chicago Urban League, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois SBA, LISC Chicago, MacArthur Foundation, Manufacturing Renaissance, Quad Communities Development Council, The Chicago Community Trust, Women’s Business Development Council, Workforce Funders Alliance

Share: