Chicago needs an entrepremayor

by Matt Moog
March 23, 2015


It has been said that, “entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources currently controlled.” Entrepreneurs are a funny bunch. They are passionate, scrappy, confident, determined, single minded and at the end of the day, accountable. They know for their enterprise to succeed they must define a vision for the future, plot a clear strategy, define priorities, hire and build talented teams, listen closely to the market and come up with innovative solutions that work. What our country needs, and what our city needs, are political leaders who think like entrepreneurs.

Every major city in America faces similar tough and seemingly intractable issues with education, public safety, infrastructure and a myriad of issues that cannot be solved overnight by only throwing money at the problem — passing along more debt to future generations. America’s cities, like Chicago, need mayors who won’t “kick the can down the road” because it is the politically easy thing to do. They must face the reality that we have limited fiscal resources, yet still find a way to make progress. That is what entrepremayors do. They find a way.

That is why as a technology entrepreneur, who over the last 20 years has founded Built In Chicago, a resource for other technology entrepreneurs, co-founded the FireStarter Fund to encourage successful Chicago entrepreneurs to invest in the next generation of Chicago entrepreneurs and chaired the project to launch 1871, I am writing this blog post today to encourage you to cast your vote for Rahm Emanuel on April 7th (or during early voting starting this week).

It is not a mere coincidence that 1871, Built In Chicago, The FireStarter Fund, Chicago Ventures, Lightbank, Hyde Park Ventures, Impact Engine, DevBoot Camp, the Starter League, Techstars Chicago, General Assembly, The Chicago Venture Summit, Techstars Chicago, MATTER and a myriad of other initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs started and have grown substantially over the last four years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been a strong and vocal supporter of our successful efforts to help shine a spotlight on the growing tech community in Chicago.

His regular visits to companies and events like GrubHub, Groupon, GoHealth, Emmi Solutions, Cleversafe, Fieldglass, The Moxie Awards, Threadless and countless others helped to show the national press and venture capital investors that Chicago is one of the largest and fast growing hubs of technology innovation in the nation.

The results of this full court press has been not only been the creation of a technology startup ecosystem the likes of which the city of Chicago has never seen before, but the creation of tens of thousands of good jobs. Not only has Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped to encourage the creation of this ecosystem, he has played a role in encouraging Motorola to move its headquarters into the Merchandise Mart and for Yelp, LinkedIn, Uber, Salesforce and Google to all open very large offices employing thousands of people in the city.

The flywheel of growth and innovation in Chicago is picking up momentum and much of the credit goes to our Mayor. More jobs, more outside capital, more companies starting. More opportunity.

On April 7th, residents of Chicago have a decision to make. Do they want a mayor who will tackle the big issues, look for innovative solutions and make hard and sometimes unpopular choices, or do they want a mayor who does not have a full grasp of the problems we face and is not willing to make the tough choices?

I strongly believe the right choice for the future of our city is Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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