World Business Chicago (WBC) today announced the first group of companies to participate in the Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) capacity building program. CASE is a network of Chicago’s leading “anchor” institutions – hospitals, universities, cultural institutions and corporations – committed to putting their purchasing power to work to accelerate growth. The capacity building program is designed to offer selected companies critical business consulting and training to successfully compete for anchor contracts.

“CASE aims to create economic opportunities for local suppliers by fostering strategic relationships that will impact our neighborhood businesses and large institutions,” said WBC President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “A key component of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs is to promote strong, well-connected neighborhoods that enhance regional growth. WBC is helping facilitate this by connecting our anchor organizations with local businesses.”

Nearly twenty businesses were chosen out of 60 applicants to participate in the first capacity building group. Hosted by Rush University Medical Center, the companies represent a variety of industries and address a range of anchor procurement needs. Businesses selected include: Amzo Zip Mailing Services, Inc., Anchor Staffing, Inc., BIOFOAM, Digby’s Detective and Security Agency, Inc., Excel Screen Printing & Embroidery, Inc., Howard Medical Company, Intelligent Design & Construction Solutions, LLC, Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions, LLC, National Office Works, Inc., Rightsize Facility Performance, Saigon Sisters, The Shred Authority, Stevenson Crane Service, Inc., Phoenix Business Solutions, LLC, The Quinlan Law Firm, LLC, and W.A. George Insurance Agency.

With the first session underway, participating businesses are gaining value from CASE’s program offerings. “The first session provided us an opportunity to look within our business to find improvements in efficiency, additional revenue and growth,” said Joanna Davidson, President, National Office Works, Inc. “We are excited to see what will be available to us at future CASE sessions.”

The list of anchors has steadily grown since CASE’s launch in March, with the following institutions currently committed:

  • Advocate Health Care
  • City of Chicago
  • Commonwealth Edison
  • Cook County
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Rush University  Medical Center
  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Chicago Medical Center
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago

“We must continue to find ways to create opportunities for the local vendor community to partner with Rush and other CASE anchors,” said Terry Peterson, vice president for corporate and external affairs, Rush University Medical Center. “We were pleased to serve as CASE’s first host and look forward to continuing our work as an anchor partner.”

World Business Chicago has partnered with Next Street – a nationally recognized firm known for its work strengthening businesses and partnering with anchor institutions – to deliver the capacity building program for CASE.  The first group of participating businesses were chosen based on criteria set by the CASE anchor institutions and Next Street. The selection process aims to not only select businesses that meet the criteria, but also to create a group of businesses that is diverse in its industries and geographies.

The CASE program model was developed by WBC in close partnership with the University of Chicago, which piloted the initiative before its official launch. The pilot included 10 mid-South Side businesses selected based on procurement categories. The University connects these businesses and others to CASE, providing them access to additional training and procurement opportunities available from other participating anchor institutions.

CASE aligns with Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs strategy to develop and deploy neighborhood assets to align with regional economic growth. The strategy calls for promoting strong, well-connected neighborhoods; supporting continuous development of human capital, business and real estate assets; and connecting neighborhood assets to regional systems, by enabling better connections to labor, business, financial and other markets.

There will be five capacity building groups in 2014. Upcoming sessions will take place through early November. Applications to CASE are reviewed on a rolling basis, and businesses will be notified of their acceptance status as each group is selected. Interested businesses can submit applications to participate in CASE directly online. To apply, or to become a CASE anchor partner, visit

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