Category Archives: Business News

Best Places for Business Events

When searching for a place to conduct business meetings, conferences and events in the Rosemont area, the Crowne Plaza Rosemont offers a great solution. In this video, we take a look at the conference center located at 440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018. Offering 55,000 square feet of meeting space in the conference room, each hotel room is likewise amenable for business endeavors with flat screen LCD HDTV, desk and laptop safe.

Illinois is a great place for networking, business opportunities and technology. Featuring the Illinois Technology Association and the current Feed Technology Center being undertaken by the University, it makes a great choice for conducting business.

Chicago: Office Expansions

Industrious (a co-working firm) will be opening its largest location in Chicago.  The address is the 10th floor of 500 W. Madison Street and the space is 46,500 square feet. It is due to open in the summer of 2019.  In addition, Novel Coworking is also opening – at a River North building spanning 50,400 square feet offering private offices, suites and co-working spaces at W. Superior Street.

And that’s not all. Google is developing its presence in Chicago with a second building right near its current one in Fulton Market.  This will open in the fall of next year at Carpenter and Lake Streets and will measure 100,000 square feet.  At the same time, Facebook is planning on moving 250,000+ square feet of space in a 35-story office tower in the area as well.

 

Local Industry Events

The American Institute of Architects Chicago chapter hosts the Art & Architecture Chicago Design Night event, which is happening tonight.  Kick off is at 5:30pm (cocktail hour in the Lakeview Terrace) and is held at the Navy Pier, Aon Grand Ballroom at 840 East Grand Avenue.  It is the 63rd year this event is taking place and it has been sold out for weeks.   Attending will be approximately 1,000 industry professionals, in recognition of the achievements of those in the architectural field.

On Thursday November 1 from 6-8pm at the Parlor Pizza Bar, 108 N. Green Street, there is an event for all “Illinois Green Alliance Emerging Professionals.”  There will be an opportunity to Meet the EP Committee as well as learning how to get involved for next year.

Chicago’s Food Industry

Chicago’s food industry is busting at the seams as it were.  It is “quickly becoming a hotbed of investment for startups in the food industry, befitting the city’s legacy of being the world’s hog butcher and stacker of wheat.”

Some recent trends include the merge between Kellogg and Conagra Brands, resulting in the provision of $34 million to set up the Hatchery – a food business incubator – due to open in November.  Kraft Heinz recently established the Evolv Ventures Fund, which is the world’s “fifth-largest packaged food and beverage company.”  According to investor and fund leader Bill Pescatello, the fund is: “about how can we be smarter, connect with startups and get a first look at emerging technologies. The distribution channels are being absolutely disrupted, with Amazon selling direct to consumers and doing delivery, along with Instacart. We’ll be heavily involved in investing in those areas.”

According to Pritzker Group VC Partner Matt McCall:

“The Midwest has the deepest bench strength in the world in food and ag. Fragmentation is the No. 1 enemy of an ecosystem. So if you can create clusters of resources and players focused on the same sector, you get a compounding flywheel.”

However, there is one question that leads to cause for concern:  can the current economic (aging) demographic utilize the burgeoning food industry?  According to the NPD’s study, Eating Patterns in America, while it is true the US economy is on an upswing, due to its “aging population and corresponding changes in life stage,” this will likely lead to a drop in “total eating occasions on a per capital basis.”  The growth of the population is not likely to be huge and that will lead to a “less than one percent annual increase in total food and beverage demand, which isn’t significant enough to stop the decline in consumption occasions per capita.”  As NPD food industry advisor David Portalatin noted:

Still, vis-à-vis Chicago, the food industry seems not to have taken a hit with an increase in industry startups including: Farmer’s Fridge, Fooda, RxBar, Home Chef, Simple Mills and Tovala.

 

Chicago: Technology, Innovation and Advancement in Business

In a recent article written by Alton Zenon III in Built in Chicago, an investigation was made into 8 tech company leaders in Chicago on innovation.   Stressing the importance of innovation “for companies looking to stay competitive as markets evolve,” Zenon asked these individuals what they felt was needed to “ensure [their] company stays on the cutting edge.”  He wanted to  know how these leaders were creating new innovation at their firms and found the following answers:

  1. According to founder and CEO of Project44 Jeff McCandless “you never know where the next great innovation will come from.” As such, he ensures everyone in his company has an opportunity to come up with a new idea/solution, etc.
  2. Head of Product at Compass, Eytan Siedman is seeking to “simplify [the] fragmented experience [of] third party software tools bring[ing] engineers together with agents under one roof.”
  3. One of CityBase’s senior software engineers, Jim Segal, says the company is “changing the way that constituents interact with their local governments by digitizing entire processes from the front end through the back end.”
  4. Director of Engineering at Collective Health, Izi Aviyente links part of the company’s success to its “automation of processes leading to more productivity.”

Zenon III also spoke with senior executives at OneSpan, Keeper Security Inc., BRD and Eved for their input on establishing innovation at their companies as well.

 

Small Business Strategies in Chicago: Part II

Last week we covered the first 6 approaches to small business development recommended by members of the Forbes Chicago Business Council. Chicago’s small businesses do exceedingly well as a result of these marketing strategies. Ready for the next 6? \

7. Think about social responsibility. “Giving back” and appealing to people on a personal level garners more support than aggressive marketing techniques. ShoppingGives’ Ronny Sage explains that the company’s recent TechweekGives campaign brought more than 50 local companies together and raised more than $1 million.

8. Pull users in to marketing efforts. Encourage them to become your brand’s advocates by sharing their experiences, photos and reviews on social media, as suggested by Jonathan Treble of PrintWithMe, Inc.

9. Form ties with larger networks. Have them share you vision for you, such as FanFood’s Carson Goodale’s message: “You don’t need to be the sharpest tool in the shed to pursue a dream, rather to have the self-discipline to overcome obstacles, time and time again. ”

10. Recruit within your region. Don’t neglect local talent- keep recruiting within your community, if possible, for real investment and a stronger local network, according to Darren Guccione of Keeper Security.

11. Collaborate with universities, says Civis Analytics’ Dan Wagner. These connections will help your business locate unique, fresh talent.

12. Street teams are important, says Adam Hirsen of UPShow. Get people on the ground who encourage others to advocate for and get enthusiastic about your product.

WOW Opens Chicago-Delhi Flight

Chicagoans now have access to a new, more affordable flight to Delhi thanks to WOW Air. The airline, which has been offering cheap flights to Iceland from all over the U.S., has begun to expand beyond Europe and North America, opening a whole new world of travel options. WOW’s new flight to Delhi starts at $199, and will also be departing from Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C., among others.

WOW Founder and CEO Skúli Mogensen said: “I am thrilled to broaden WOW Air’s offerings and bring low-fare international flight service to India.

We are passionate about continuing our mission of enabling everybody to fly by making international travel accessible and affordable for all, and look forward to expanding our global service to provide travelers with the opportunity to see many parts of the globe, whether for business or pleasure.”

Every WOW flight has a layover in Reykjavik, which, while possibly inconvenient, gives travelers an opportunity to see a bit of WOW’s native country. The airline also offers a stopover feature to help make your delay more enjoyable.

 

West Chicago Business Park Expects New Business

Chicago mayor Ruben Pineda recently revealed that efforts to boost a business park in West Chicago are finally paying off.

According to Pineda, the city is teaming up with park owner DuPage Airport Authority and Choose DuPage to encourage additional growth on the 800-acre campus and “develop incentive plans for new development.”

“These efforts have led to several exciting prospects already bubbling to the surface,” Pineda said during his State of the City address.

The details of the plan have yet to be revealed, but Pineda shared several hints, including a plan to build 800,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space, as well as another 750,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution.

“For the first time in over 10 years, I have been informed that we might be running out of available property in the DuPage Business Center,” Pineda said during the address. “That, my friends, is a great problem to have.

“We are committed to our pledge to our residents and businesses to  provide exceptional service and transparent government while focusing on doing what we can do to relieve the financial burden on our customers.”