Mayor Emanuel today announced, ChicagoNEXT a World Business Chicago (WBC)-led council of technology business leaders that will promote new opportunities in three critical sectors: digital, clean technology and life sciences.

“ChicagoNEXT will have a straightforward mission: to foster economic development and job growth in these vital sectors, and to attract investment needed to build technology companies,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This council will put forth plans that will ensure a vibrant business climate in Chicago, attracting high-quality jobs, talent and investment.”

J.B. Pritzker, managing partner of The Pritzker Group and a member of the WBC Executive Committee, will chair the council. He will serve alongside WBC directors Jeff Aronin, Eric Lefkofsky and Pat Ryan Jr.

“ChicagoNEXT is focused on making Chicago the best possible place for technology entrepreneurs,” said Pritzker. “The council will lead an innovative and aggressive effort to bring new opportunities to the area and shape the city’s business landscape for generations. I look forward to working alongside Mayor Emanuel and the other directors to achieve these goals.”

Attracting new talent in the tech industry, engaging business leaders in both the domestic and international communities, increasing venture capital investment and creating new opportunities for entrepreneurship are the core goals of the council. WBC leads Chicago’s business retention, attraction and expansion efforts and fosters private sector growth and jobs through the advancement of a business-friendly environment. The creation of ChicagoNEXT emphasizes WBC’s further commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, and supporting Chicago’s thriving tech industry.

ChicagoNEXT will seek to create a number of innovative programs that will foster entrepreneurship in Chicago, including shared space partnerships, exchange programs for entrepreneurs, and outreach to venture capital firms and technology talent. Members of the council’s leadership recently collaborated with WBC on a tech talent recruitment mission to the University of Illinois. Mayor Emanuel led the delegation of nearly 40 company leaders to Urbana-Champaign to showcase the opportunities available in Chicago for the country’s most talented young engineers.

Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has stood with more than 50 companies to announce more than 25,000 new jobs for Chicago, many of them in technology. WBC is focused on creating opportunity in the tech space; innovation and entrepreneurship is a key strategy of WBC’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, produced earlier this year at Mayor Emanuel’s request.

The first ChicagoNEXT meeting will be held in mid-November.

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