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World Business Chicago – 100 Years since being coined “The City of Big Shoulders”!

Carl Sandburg may have said it best when he published his poem Chicago, in March of 1914. 

“Hog Butcher for the World,

   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

   Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;

   Stormy, husky, brawling,

   City of the Big Shoulders"

The City of “Big Shoulders” has seen its share of ups and downs in the past 100 years, the not so long ago economic bubble took its toll on all cities, including Chicago. “Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning,” said Sandburg.

Chicago has a rich history of economic growth and transformation. Our city set a global standard in the 19th century as a industrial giant, unmatched in its freight network and manufacturing might. By the late 20th century, the city had expanded its focus to embrace a knowledge-based economy, while developing a highly skilled workforce. Today the Chicago region has emerged as a major hub for advanced business and professional services, and for the corporate headquarters that depend on them. 

Fostering this effort is Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the team at World Business Chicago (WBC). This organization fosters private sector growth and jobs through the advancement of a business-friendly environment that attracts world class talent. WBC leads the city's business retention, attraction and expansion efforts, raises Chicago's position as a premier global business destination, and guides implementation of the Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs. 

A not-for-profit economic development organization led by president & CEO Jeff Malehorn, and chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago advances the city’s position as a thriving location for business and accelerates economic growth. As a public-private partnership between the City and its business community, WBC’s Board of Directors is composed of prominent leaders who guide the progression of Chicago’s business environment.

The Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs (Plan) is intended to embody a living process that marks the beginning of a coordinated effort to assess our economy and help it expand at a faster rate. It is designed to give direction to the vital discussion about how to make the most of the city’s and the region’s existing assets, and how to foster the new assets we need to flourish in the economy of the future. What we seek to provide with this Plan is a clear set of goals for economic growth, an overarching framework for research and analysis, and an initial set of strategies for which actionable initiatives can be developed.

The Plan has a clear understanding of the Market Levers that impact and challenge big cities, they’ve identified many of the underlying market dynamics that will affect the biggest change; one of those dynamics is near and dear to MeetAdvisors; Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

WBC’s Plan outlines 10 strategies that define the way ahead:

  • Become a leading hub of advanced manufacturing

  • Increase the region’s attractiveness as a center for business services and headquarters

  • Enhance our competitive position as a leading transportation and logistics hub

  • Make Chicago a premier destination for tourism and entertainment

  • Make Chicago a nationally leading exporter

  • Develop our workforce in a demand-driven and targeted manner

  • Support entrepreneurship and foster innovation in mature and emerging sectors

  • Invest to create next-generation infrastructure

  • Develop and deploy neighborhood assets to align with regional economic growth

  • Create an environment in which businesses can flourish.

Carl Sandburg ends his poem with, “Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.” 100 years since the poem Chicago was published, I think Sandburg would have been proud of the WBC’s plan and the future of Chicago. However, if he were alive today, I believe he would have changed the phrase from “Handler to the Nation” to “Handler to the World”!

With our common goals in mind, we at MeetAdvisors applaud you World Business Chicago!

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