Chicago wants to double tech economy in 10 years


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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to double the city’s tech economy over the decade, adding 40,000 jobs in the process.

“Chicago’s technology economy is thriving, creating thousands of jobs and generating interest from around the world,” Emanuel said. “We are seeing unprecedented growth in this vital sector, from established international corporations to startups designed by Chicagoans. Now is the time for us to double down and ensure that Chicago’s tech economy is a strong, lasting pillar of our overall economy.”

Emanuel announced three major new initiatives to continue recent success: Chicago will host a venture capital summit in conjunction with Lollapalooza; Purdue University will launch a Chicago-based weekend MBA program to help engineers and computer scientists turn ideas into businesses; and then Emanuel will join tech leaders from around the city to visit the top five business schools in the country and recruit students.

As part of his vision for Chicago’s tech sector, Emanuel will host the venture capital summit on the Wednesday before Lollapooza, inviting firms from around the country to meet the with various companies in the startup and technology space.

The hosting of this summit capitalizes on the success of the ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program that brings talented students to Chicago for the festival. The summit aims to bring the capital to Chicago providing first-hand access to most vibrant startups in Chicago. The summit will include networking events, “pitch” sessions and one-on-one meetings.

Purdue’s executive MBA program will be located in Chicago’s West Loop to help engineers, computer scientists and other professionals get the business training they need to start and lead the tech companies of the future. Today’s announcement marks the first time a national business school from outside Illinois has come to Chicago and opened a new program in this vein.

The 16-month MBA program will enable students to focus their curriculum in the following specializations: business analytics, integrated product design, global supply chain management, and customized specializations in areas such as biotech, pharmaceuticals or next-generation manufacturing.

Finally, Emanuel has committed to traveling the nation to the top five engineering and computer science schools to directly recruit the next generation of tech workers, in collaboration with tech leaders from around the city.

In the past few years since Emanuel took office, the tech economy in Chicago has blossomed, adding some 10,000 jobs (current total is about 40,000). This past quarter, Chicago companies raised $265 million in venture capital. And there was a new startup per day in 2012 — more than triple what it was just two years prior.

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Economy, Illinois, State & Local News, States