CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed a new ChicagoNEXT panel Tuesday to promote the city's technology economy, calling on some of Chicago's most high-profile business leaders.
Emanuel named entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker to head the panel, along with Groupon founder Eric Lefkosky, Pat Ryan, Jr. of Incisent Technologies and Paragon Pharmaceuticals' Jeff Aroni. ChicagoNEXT grows out of the previously established World Business Chicago group, which Emanuel created to attract businesses to Chicago.
“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,” Emanuel said. “This council will put forth plans that will ensure a vibrant business climate in Chicago, attracting high-quality jobs, talent and investment.”
The panel will be charged with championing Chicago and local businesses in three specific areas: digital, clean technology and life sciences.
“ChicagoNEXT is focused on making Chicago the best possible place for technology entrepreneurs,” Pritzker said. “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.”
The move follows Emanuel's efforts earlier this month to recruit technology workers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Joined by 40 business leaders, he urged top college students to stay in state and come to Chicago.