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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined City Council Budget Committee Chairman Carrie Austin at a roundtable discussion with several minority and women business owners to discuss a new proposed ordinance that will encourage mentorships and foster improved economic opportunity for MBE and WBE businesses throughout Chicago.
“This innovative program will be another tool that we can use to promote opportunity for minority-and women-owned businesses in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and encouraging their growth and independence is central to our economic development strategy for the city. This is a great ordinance that will help these businesses become self-sufficient and competitive.”
The program will work by offering five percentage points of MBE or WBE credit for contractors that agree to take on a mentor/protégé relationship with an MBE or WBE firm. The relationship will be memorialized in writing, approved by Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee, and aimed toward enabling the protégé firm to grow into self-sufficiency and profitability.
“This program will help level the playing field for minority- and women-owned businesses in Chicago and help them advance toward their goals of being competitive job creators in the city,” said Chairman Austin. “By incentivizing large firms to take on a mentor relationship, this program will foster opportunity throughout our city’s neighborhoods and communities.” This announcement is the latest in a series of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel to increase opportunity for MBEs/WBEs. Additional announcements have included the Diversity Business Initiative, the Small Business Initiative, and the Graduation Phase-out Program for MBEs/WBEs.
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