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CASE Program Encourages Chicago’s Leading Institutions To Support Local

shakeTwo Edgewater businesses have been selected to participate in the Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) program that encourages the city’s leading institutions to support local small business growth in their neighborhoods.

Blueshoon Inc., 5215 N. Ravenswood, is a boutique web development company that creates websites and applications for clients and also seeks to augment web teams for other companies. Superior Spaces, 5505 N. Broadway, provides furniture and cable installation, electrical, flooring and relocation services for businesses.

Roy Palondikar, the founder of Blueshoon, said his company heard about the CASE program through Katrina Balog, the executive director of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Blueshoon built the Chamber’s website.

“She said (participating in the CASE program) could be a game changer for a company our size,” he said.

While Blueshoon has been successful on its own, often bringing in new clients via word of mouth, Palondikar said he’s hoping the CASE program enables his company to grow even more.

The CASE classes are informative and relevant and seek to teach Blueshoon how to present an effective pitch to so-called “anchor institutions” that are tied down to the city of Chicago, Palondikar said.

The final class is the formal pitch day. Palondikar said he wasn’t certain how much money would be available in all if his company were awarded a contract.

“They said 10 percent of the companies involved with CASE have secured contracts from the anchor companies,” he said. “Now, they have 15 anchor institutions … so they think the percentage is going to increase.”

Superior Spaces did not return a call for comment.

CASE’s website said the program aims to foster strategic relationships between what it calls anchor institutions such as universities, cultural institutions, hospitals, government and businesses, with small businesses that can supply their needs to build economic vitality across Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“Creating a strong business-to-business supplier network locally not only supports the success of these institutions, but also strengthens the economy, making the region a more attractive place to do business,” the website said.

“Firms providing business goods and services are located throughout Chicago-area neighborhoods. Focusing on the high volume of business-to-business transactions at major institutions can help strengthen local firms, increase community and neighborhood vitality, generate jobs, and help grow the regional economy.”

According to the Illinois Institute of Technology, one of the original partner anchors of the program that began in 2014, “over the last year, the small businesses that participated in the CASE program saw an average increase in revenue of $804,000.”

Other anchor institutions are the City of Chicago, Cook County, ComEd, University of Chicago Medical Center, BMO Harris Bank, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University, Advocate Health Care, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago.

For more information about the CASE program, visit http://www.worldbusinesschicago.com/case/.

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