Manager of Small to Medium Enterprise Growth, Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs

The Manager of Small to Medium Enterprise Growth (“SME”) works to better support the SME ecosystem, specifically targeting high-growth potential companies within the Chicago area.

The Plan’s approach is to specifically support SME Technical Assistance providers (resource programs, consultants, attorneys, etc.) and programs to better connect with, increase the capacity of and address the business needs of high-growth potential SMEs. This is a full-time position reporting directly to the Executive Director of the Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs and involves one of the three focus areas of the Plan. In this role the SME Growth manager will be expected to both implement existing programs and strategies, as well as, lead practices that will garner new strategic approaches to accomplish the above.


Program Development, Implementation, and Management

  • Assist with defining SME Growth from equitable, inclusive, and innovative growth perspectives
  • Lead development and implementation of a Strategic Action Plan for SME Growth:
    • Develop and execute an annual work program
    • Identify gaps, barriers, and growth opportunities in SME ecosystem, including ways to work cross-functionally to close those gaps through projects, programs, events and partners
  • Assist WBC Flagship Programs with SME growth strategies and tactics
    • Support CASE by better connecting effective Technical Assistance providers to companies utilizing CASE’s diagnostic tool and SME programming;
    • Support MCE by better connecting high-growth potential SMEs to exports programming
    • Support ChicagoNext by connecting SMEs to tech resources in Chicago
  • Work with the Director of Civic Partnerships to foster inclusive SME Growth for Chicago
  • Work with Plan ED and Targeted Cluster Growth Staff in identifying SME Growth strategies for specific clusters
  • Work with Plan ED and Demand-Driven Workforce Development Staff in identifying workforce development strategies for high-growth potential established SMEs
  • Assist with the development and submission of SME grant proposals
  • Manage internal resources (e.g., Associates, Fellows, and Interns) to achieve SME Growth

External Stewardship

  • Serve as the point of contact and lead facilitator of the SME Growth committee – steer the committee to continually identify opportunities, projects and partners to improve the SME ecosystem
  • Work closely with SME Growth partners (including the City of Chicago, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Majority, Intersect Illinois, etc.) on developing and aligning strategies
  • Assist Business Development in supporting the City of Chicago with business attraction, expansion, and retention of SMEs
  • Serve as a thought leader and resource for WBC and external stakeholders on SME Growth within the region; develop outbound communications and serve as a representative when requested

Research, Data and Evaluation

  • Compile and maintain detailed profiles on SME Growth trends by reviewing quantitative data, amassing and compiling qualitative information, and extrapolating trends
  • Identify additional ongoing barriers and opportunities to SME Growth and hone in on strategic projects that can improve upon these findings

Skills & Experience

  • Solid understanding of Chicago’s SME business ecosystem and Technical Assistance providers
  • Advanced experience executing tactics to help SME businesses (a range of businesses) achieve accelerated growth
  • Advanced project management – including ability to support corporate executives and technical assistance providers in ongoing engagement of projects to produce deliverables
  • Demonstrated experience building effective private, public, civic and philanthropic partnerships
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to address all levels of management
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize workload to meet changing or tight deadlines
  • Experience working in a start-up environment with evolving priorities and processes preferred
  • A good sense of diplomacy in dealing with confidential information


Seeking candidates with a minimum of 5-8 years of experience in a management role related to SME Growth strategies. Strongly preferred: relevant graduate degree or equivalent work experience, and IEDC CEcD certification. Must have solid computer skills and technological capabilities in database management including and have advanced expertise required in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access.

To Apply

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to:

Carrie Simmons
World Business Chicago
177 N. State St., Ste. 500
Chicago, Illinois, 60601

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