Program Manager, Small to Medium Business Growth, Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs

The Program Manager of Small to Medium Business (SMB) Growth works to better support the SMB ecosystem, by targeting high-growth potential companies within the Chicago area.

The Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs’ (Plan) approach is to specifically support SMB Technical Assistance providers (resource programs, consultants, attorneys, etc.) and areas programs to better connect with, increase the capacity of and address the needs of high-growth potential SMBs. This is a full-time position reporting directly to the Executive Vice President of the Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs (“EVP”).  In this role the SMB Growth program manager will be expected to both implement existing programs and strategies, as well as, lead practices that will garner new strategic approaches.


Program Development, Implementation, and Management

  • Lead the development and implementation of a Strategic Action Plan for WBCs SMB Growth strategy:
    • Identify gaps, barriers, and growth opportunities in SMB ecosystem, including ways to work cross-functionally to close those gaps through projects, programs, events and partners
    • Manage internal resources (e.g., Associates, Fellows, and Interns) to achieve SMB Growth
    • Serve as the point of contact and lead facilitator of the SMB Growth committee – steer the committee to continually identify opportunities, projects and partners to improve the SMB ecosystem
    • Work closely with SMB 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 SMBs
    • Serve as a thought leader and resource for WBC and external stakeholders on SMB Growth within the region; develop outbound communications and serve as a representative when requested.
    • Compile and maintain detailed profiles on SMB Growth trends by reviewing quantitative data, amassing and compiling qualitative information, and extrapolating trends
  • Assist WBC Flagship Programs (CASE, MCE and ChicagoNext) with SMB growth strategies and tactics to expand their programming;
  • Work with the Director of Civic Partnerships ensure an inclusive SMB Growth strategy WBC/ Chicago
  • Work with Plan EVP and Targeted Cluster Growth Staff to identify SMB Growth strategies for specific industries
  • Work with Plan EVP and Demand-Driven Workforce Development Staff to identify workforce development strategies for high-growth potential established SMBs

Skills & Experience

  • Solid understanding of Chicago’s SMB business ecosystem and Technical Assistance providers;
  • Advanced experience executing tactics to help SMB 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 SMB 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:

Or to

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