Chicago’s economy has always remained uniquely tied to creatives, makers, and blue collar dreamers.

Generations of bold entrepreneurs with work ethic and collaboration defined by their Midwest roots have contributed to Chicago’s assent as a leading hub of creativity for industries such as music, film, architecture, food, fashion, and product design.

These businesses are the entrepreneurial bedrock of the city’s ingenuity and continual rebirth that Chicago has been known for since the invention of the skyscraper, mail order shopping, and improve comedy.

Perhaps most importantly, these locally-grown businesses give unique cultural identities to neighborhoods throughout the city and are increasingly jump-starting neighborhood economies.

More importantly, by 2020 it is estimated 40% of American workers will be in alternative work. With this trend, Chicagoans are increasingly launching small businesses or working gig jobs in creative sectors.

But while 3.5x more dollars stay local when purchases are made at these micro-businesses versus national chain retailers, creatives are often not considered an important part of the economy.

By focusing on this sector we can empower these overlooked economic engines to sustain growth, help the neighborhoods they serve, and grow Chicago’s economy.

ChicagoMade is an initiative being launched by World Business Chicago to support entrepreneurs in the creative industries of design, craft, media, and entertainment and serve as the connective tissue to the area’s existing creative industry resources.

The effort’s primary focus is on better supporting creative entrepreneurs from underserved populations, neighborhoods and sectors such as fashion, creative writing, visual art, and craft artisans.

The initiative’s three objectives are to develop small creative businesses, grow and sustain neighborhood economies, and enhance the profile of creative businesses and industries.

Join us, today, in celebrating and supporting what is made in Chicago