The Chicago Conversion Project – an endeavor established by World Business Chicago, Safer Foundation, Manufacturing Renaissance, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) – at the end of July completed its business plan.
The goal is to “help retain Chicago’s industrial base by arranging the acquisition of manufacturing companies through ownership succession by groups of employees and High Road entrepreneurs, particularly African-American and Hispanic men and women.”
It is hoped that the collaboration will be able to help the transition process and identify target firms. Each of the organizations can access different networks and comes with unique skills.
For the community and economy in Chicago, this project provides a wonderful opportunity for growth.
Another group – the Chicagoland Cooperative Ecosystem – recently approached the Commission for its support of a 3 year pilot program that would encourage the development of worker owned cooperatives. According to Vice Chair of the Commission Marc Lane:
“These efforts are all driven by the notion that when employees, particularly disadvantaged populations, become owners of businesses, that will lift them out of poverty. They’ll be given a stake in the venture, self-respect and training that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.”