Lightfoot will lead a delegation of 18 member cities on a five-day trip to London and Paris to talk business and recovery
Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel traveled the world in his relentless quest to attract business to Chicago.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has taken a trip to Canada and numerous domestic trips, almost always accompanied by political fundraising. But nothing abroad — so far.
The mayor will lead an 18-member delegation of city officials and business leaders to London and Paris next week on a five-day trip – July 11-15 – to showcase Chicago as a great place to doing business in the midst of what she called the “best economic recovery of any major city in the country, bar none.
Lightfoot will meet London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to exchange ideas on how to “build back better” after the devastating financial shutdown linked to COVID-19.
She will also tout Chicago’s “ecosystem” and record growth in the burgeoning fintech field during a keynote at Fintech Week London 2022.
The mayor’s office says 2021 has been a “record year” for fintech in Chicago, “reflecting global trends” in what is now a $130 billion industry.
According to the public-private job growth agency known as World Business Chicago, the trend continues this year, thanks to the “concentration of finance and insurance talent” in the city.
Already this year, 16 Chicago-based fintech companies have raised $479 million in venture capital. Ten others have raised $53 million in seed funding.
Five Chicago-based fintech companies had “exits” — defined as plans to dispose of an investment in a business enterprise or financial asset — valued at more than $730 million.
“Chicago’s economy is booming and our business sector has set records, helping us stay competitive with major global financial cities,” Lightfoot said in a press release announcing the trip.
“On behalf of our world-class city, I am delighted to lead a delegation of city and business leaders to London and Paris, where I look forward to discussing Chicago’s economic strengths, speaking at Fintech Week London 2022 and learn new ideas to further grow our business community and economy.
World Business Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht said the 13-member delegation of business leaders that will accompany the mayor and his wife, First Lady Amy Eshleman, will both help “promote Chicago as a fit city to investments” and to “reinforce important and long-term investments”. -permanent global trade relations. »
As the “first city in America” to unveil a “comprehensive” post-pandemic recovery plan, Chicago looks forward to exchanging “best practices with our peers in London and Paris,” said Samir Mayekar, assistant to the mayor for the neighborhood and economic development.
Fassnacht and Mayekar are among four city officials accompanying Lightfoot and Eshleman on the five-day professional visit. The others are Transport Commissioner Gia Biagi and Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox.
World Business Chicago will fund travel expenses for all city officials and employees.
Thirteen business leaders will accompany the mayor for at least part of the trip and cover their own expenses.
They include: Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871; Smita Shah, President and CEO of SPAANTECH, Inc.; John Holmes, President and CEO of AAR Corp.; Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago; Jim Reynolds, Chairman and CEO of Loop Capital; John C. Robak, Chairman and CEO of Greeley and Hansen; Charles Smith, founder and CEO of CS Strategy; José Luis Prado, president of Tropicale Foods and Palmex; and Blake-Anthony Johnson, President and CEO of Chicago Sinfonietta.
In an April speech to the City Club of Chicago that laid the groundwork for his re-election bid, Lightfoot claimed Chicago was on course for the “best economic recovery of any major city in the country bar none.” .
From business relocation and expansion to pedestrian and commercial traffic, retail rents, conventions and trade volume at O’Hare International Airport, Lightfoot argued that economic activity in Chicago is booming.
“There is a narrative out there that our city is heading in the wrong direction. This noise is completely belied by these objective data points, which show a very robust economy that is creating jobs and opportunities,” the mayor said then.
“Our city is strong and solid and well positioned, well positioned to be one of the strongest economies in the country.”
When Lightfoot asked the audience who had heard “most of these positive economic steps,” only a few hands went up.
“We have to have our own narrative. And we need to tell these stories so that our employees understand it, our companies continue to have confidence, investors continue to flock to Chicago and we break through the noise,” she said that day.