Collaboration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with support from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, brings together two formidable business management schools and entrepreneur training curricula focused on building and implementing an ecosystem that will support the growth of both neighborhood-based and high-growth-oriented businesses in South Side and West Side neighborhoods. Each university will work with groups of minority-owned small businesses on new programs to help them grow their businesses and create local job opportunities.


The University of Chicago’s The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will offer business education and consulting services to 20 minority-owned businesses on the South Side of Chicago in collaboration with organizations that provide Money and access to Markets.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and JHLA Consulting will combine management education, market access, and capital access to grow businesses and jobs in low and moderate income (LMI) communities, and to develop an ongoing network that links business schools, market access organizations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and Chase small business banking.

LISC Chicago is part of a nationwide nonprofit corporation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, headquartered in New York. LISC operates in more than 30 cities and numerous rural communities throughout the United States. Founded in 1979 by the Ford Foundation, LISC helps both community-based and for-profit development organizations transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy ones—where people choose to live, do business, work and raise families.

James H. Lowry & Associates (JHLA) is a private consulting firm specializing in minority business development and strategic planning. Mr. Lowry is a nationally recognized workforce and supplier diversity expert and pioneer. In addition to leading JHLA, Mr. Lowry has been affiliated with the Boston Consulting Group since 2000 where he served as Senior Vice President and Global Diversity Director prior to his current role as Senior Advisor. In 1978 JHLA prepared the first major study on minority business enterprise development for the US Department of Commerce and between 1981 and 2000, JHLA designed more than 30 major minority business programs for corporate and public sector clients including for cities of Louisville, Atlanta and Chicago and at the Federal level for the Small Business Administration, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and in the private sector for Burger King, AT&T, American Express, PepsiCo, Toyota, and the Ford Motor Company. Prior to forming JHLA, Mr. Lowry was the first African American to join McKinsey & Company (1968). His book Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream (co-authored with Len Greenhalgh and published in 2011) charts a path for the full participation of minority businesses in the U.S. economy.

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) is an initiative of World Business Chicago, a public-private, nonprofit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. CASE fosters strategic relationships between anchor institutions (universities, cultural institutions, hospitals, government, businesses, etc.) and small businesses that can supply their needs, building economic vitality across Chicago’s neighborhoods.

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