If Chicago is chosen for the location of Barack Obama’s presidential library, Illinois taxpayers could be on the hook for $100 million. Are the benefits that come with presidential libraries worth the cost? Anthony Clark talks about the economic impact other presidential libraries have had and what might be in store for Chicago if it gets picked.

This document is the culmination of an innovative, two-year effort to develop an integrated and mutually reinforcing set of strategies and initiatives to drive growth in four contiguous Chicago neighborhoods: Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing. The plan reflects a new, replicable approach to neighborhood growth planning, embedded in the context of regional economic opportunities. Chapter I lays out the economic foundations of the plan, and is followed by a rigorous market analysis, articulation of the plan’s 16 strategies and an outline of the lead implementation initiatives and institutional infrastructure.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, accepting the recommendations of her Council of Economic Advisors, adopted Partnering for Prosperity: An Economic Growth Action Agenda for Cook County, a report developed with assistance from RW Ventures and Metropolis Strategies.  The Action Agenda provides a blueprint for more strategic, targeted and deeper County engagement in regional economic development, recommending nine key strategies based on Cook’s role and capacities in the regional economy.  RW Ventures and Metropolis Strategies will continue to work with Cook County, as it now adapts its programs and engages partners to create transformative initiatives to implement the strategies.

Prepared for Cook County by its Council of Economic Advisors, Metropolis Strategies and RW Ventures, this Action Agenda begins by addressing Cook County’s role in the regional economy, in light of dramatic changes taking place in the global economy. It then outlines a framework for understanding the County’s opportunities to influence economic growth, identifying the intersection of regional economic growth opportunities, the County’s unique assets and challenges, and Cook County government’s capacities. Applying this framework, the Action Agenda analyzes Cook County’s economic assets, challenges and opportunities in the context of the region. Based on this analysis, the Action Agenda recommends nine economic growth strategies for Cook County to adopt in order to promote regional economic growth, and outlines next steps for implementing the strategies.

The Chicago Tribune published this op-ed, authored by Bob Weissbourd, which argues that greater public-private collaboration and a more flexible, dynamic and open institutional infrastructure are necessary to be competitive in today’s increasingly global and knowledge-based economy. It also highlights recent momentum in this direction by the City of Chicago and Cook County.

The plan was developed at the request of Mayor Rahm Emanuel by World Business Chicago and a team of consultants, including RW Ventures. It begins with an overview of the necessary foundations for growth in the “next economy,” followed by an assessment of the region’s economy along five market levers that drive regional growth and a set of ten transformative growth strategies informed by this rigorous analysis. The report ends by considering potential impacts of and risks to implementation and outlining the next steps in implementation.

This report, written jointly by RW Ventures and Innovation Network for Communities, explores opportunities for Chicago-area firms arising from the increasing market demand for energy- and resource-efficient products and services. The first part of the report describes the project’s cluster approach, outlining the theory behind cluster-driven economic growth and identifying the particular criteria used to select promising clusters for the project. Using these criteria, the report narrows from many green sectors of opportunity to the one–energy efficient lighting–ultimately chosen to illustrate green cluster development. The second part of the report digs deeper into the energy efficient (EE) lighting sector, providing an overview of the industry and its current trends and dynamics. The report ends with recommendations for development of Chicago’s EE Lighting sector as well as strategies for regional green economic development more broadly. Also available for download are an executive summary of the report produced by Metropolis Strategies and a copy of Bob Weissbourd’s presentation based on the report.

MyHomeEQ, a joint venture of RW Ventures and CNT Energy, officially debuted in the Chicagoland market as part of Energy Impact Illinois (EI2), a CMAP-led initiative for more energy-efficient buildings.  As the online energy tool component of EI2, MyHomeEQ makes it easy for homeowners to learn about and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin and the Chief Executives of Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties convened on September 29, 2014 to announce the launch of an unprecedented regional collaboration to improve Chicagoland’s economic competitiveness through exports. The culmination of collaboration among county, city, regional and national partners, Metro Chicago Exports will expand exports by the region’s small and medium-sized businesses by engaging high-potential firms with export opportunity, and providing “concierge” services to link them to appropriate service providers and funding.  RW Ventures is a principal partner and advisor in design and implementation of the initiative.

This presentation, delivered by Bob Weissbourd to the Economic Development Foundations Working Group of Cook County, provides an overview of how the different pieces of the economy fit together and how to understand them in the regional context. The bulk of the presentation specifically examines the Chicago region’s economy and suggests ways in which Cook County might support economic development through actions in its own businesses, in its economic development programming and through new initiatives and partnerships.