From Crain’s Chicago:
As many as 2,000 small local manufacturing firms could be up for sale in the next decade. Four local nonprofits want minority and female entrepreneurs to buy them.
The Chicago Ownership Conversion Project aims to correct a “demographic crisis” in manufacturing by finding African-American, Hispanic and female buyers, as well as employee-led groups, for manufacturing firms headed by aging owners. The initiative, which is holding an informational breakfast Oct. 4, hopes to be active within six months.
A representative from one of the nonprofits says that manufacturing in Chicago has two problems: skills, which various workforce development and training groups are trying to solve, and succession. “That problem’s not been on anybody’s radar,” says Dan Swinney,executive director of Manufacturing Renaissance, which supports manufacturing and jobs in the city and is a partner in the conversion project. The others are Safer Foundation, which helps educate and employ people with criminal records; the Chicago Federation of Labor; and the Local Initiative Support Corp., a national nonprofit that supports community economic development.