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Mayor Rahm Emanuel vows to double Chicago's tech sector over next decade

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With Silicon Valley riding high and New York close behind, everyone is going startup

chicago sun-times headquarters (wikimedia)
chicago sun-times headquarters (wikimedia)

Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel announced a new initiative today aimed at doubling the size of his city's tech sector by adding 40,000 new jobs over the next ten years. The plan was announced at 1871, a co-working space that houses a number of the areas' young startup companies. Under Emanuel's tenure, the tech sector in the Windy City has reportedly grown 30 percent.

A venture capital summit in conjunction with Lollapalooza

The mayor's plan has three core pieces: Chicago will host a venture capital summit in conjunction with Lollapalooza, Purdue University will launch a Chicago-based weekend MBA program to help engineers and computer scientists turn ideas into businesses; and the Mayor will join tech leaders from around the city to visit the top 5 business schools in the country and recruit students.

Chicago is home to the venture capital firm Lightbank and took part in the recent IPO surge when the homegrown Groupon went public. In placing a heavy emphasis on expanding the tech sector, Emanuel is following New York's Michael Bloomberg, who made bolstering the Big Apple's startup scene one of his key priorities during his final term. A recent study found New York's tech sector is booming, quickly becoming the second largest industry after finance.