Evanston news delivered free to your inbox! 

The City of Evanston will be hosting an Economic Development Summit on Friday, May 18, 2012 that will be open to the public. The summit will give participants the opportunity to share with city officials their ideas about the best ways to implement the city’s economic development goals and objectives through two focus group break-out sessions. The city and its economic development partners invite business owners, residents and employees to identify ways for all concerned parties to work together to implement the adopted Economic Development Vision Statement and Plan.


The Economic Development Summit will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 18, 2012 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Fourth Floor Parasol Room. Registration is required by May 11, 2012. Please include the participant’s name, title and company name with address, along with preferred topic for each break-out session within the RSVP. If you have questions regarding this event or to RSVP, please contact the Economic Development Division at:  economicdevelopment@cityofevanston.org or 847/448-8100. Register online here>>>


Break-Out Session I – Five Targeted Industries:


Arts and Entertainment Venues

What role do the “arts” play in economic development? What are the best ways to engage the arts community in related economic development efforts? How can the city and the arts community partner to advance common goals?

Health Care and Wellness

What can the city do to help sustain and grow our health care industries? How can we better connect our health care and wellness businesses with other businesses within the city?

Technology-Based/Enabled Businesses and “Start-ups”

What can the city do to help strengthen and grow the entrepreneurial community? What resources are needed to nurture and develop the growing network of startups in Evanston?  How do we promote Evanston as a significant focal point for venture and angel capital investors? What is Evanston’s niche in the context of the greater Chicagoland startup “community?”

“Baby Boomer” Markets

What businesses and services should be in Evanston to support Baby Boomers – the United States’ largest age group? As the Baby Boomers begin to move into retirement age, what can the city do to help businesses and business districts become more “age friendly?” What types of businesses and services would meet the demands of Evanston’s Baby Boomers, while also appealing to other key population market/sectors: young families, college students and the growing entrepreneurial/ “start-up” workforce?

Water-related Industries

What can the city do to attract more water-based businesses, while still balancing sustainability goals? What are the basic space and/or infrastructure needs for such businesses? Which areas within Evanston and/or within communities that buy water from Evanston are best suited for water-related Industries?


Break-Out Session II – Traditional Growth Sector/Subsectors:


Retail Sector

Is Evanston positioned to benefit from the rapidly changing retail environment resulting from online merchants and shrinking space needs? How can the city work with the area business districts in promoting retention, expansion and attraction of desirable retail businesses?

Applied Skilled Industries (Manufacturing, Production, Construction)

What are the lead types of applied skilled industries within Evanston? Are there complementary businesses that we can attract that would benefit our existing business base and/or  support service needs at Northwestern, the city and the school districts?

Office and Professional Services

How can we position ourselves for the next wave of office development? What are the current office space needs and does the city have enough office space based on current and expected future demand? Are there opportunities to retrofit existing building stock for modern users? How can the city assist real estate professionals in attracting new users to the existing stock?

Work Force Training Programs

How can the city, businesses, institutions, and non-profit agencies partner to better match the work force training programs with available jobs?   Are there certain base level skills that can translate to multiple employment sectors?  Are there sufficient opportunities for Evanston residents to access workforce training programs?

Educational and Non-Profit Market

What are the newest models of education, non-profit and city partnerships? How can the city partner with non-profit businesses to promote goals for economic development: job creation, increased revenues and enhanced quality of life?