Our holistic approach to economic development provides the business community with the resources it needs to thrive, while enabling individuals to take advantage of professional and developmental opportunities.

Mission

To holistically enhance the socioeconomic well-being of communities, businesses, and individuals through sustainability and financial independence

Vision

A robust and diversified urban economy supported by businesses and communities that are capacitated with the tools and opportunities needed to enhance their socioeconomic well-being and thrive in a changing world.

WHAT WE DO

ESDC’s approach to economic development is dynamic. We believe that business growth is vital to the creation and retention of jobs, hiring locally reduces the carbon footprint as well as the turnover rate of employees, and basic needs have to be met so that the members of the communities we serve can take advantage of professional and developmental opportunities. We are all integral parts of our local economy, and we are in it together.

Our CORE VALUES

Inclusion

A community organization should channel the voice of the community it serves. ESDC engages the community by conducting an annual survey to gain an understanding of the needs of local small businesses and the families who operate them. From our homeless population to our local artists, and from our small business owners to our corporate CEOs, we are all an integral part of our local economy and each have a role in making it stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive.

Collaboration

Why reinvent the wheel? When we effectively leverage our partnerships, we can efficiently connect our clients to the programs and services they need. ESDC works closely with its partners in both the private and nonprofit sector in order to achieve the greatest impact in the communities we serve.

Adaptability

ESDC understands that the needs of the community are not static, but rather evolving. Our organic approach to meeting the needs of the communities we serve allows us to rise to the occasion and offer the programming and services that will address the challenges currently being experienced by individuals and businesses.

Innovation

ESDC is in constant search of new ways to foster economic growth by incorporating the latest technology and research to creatively address the needs of the individuals and businesses we serve.

500+

Jobs Created

40+

Private-Sector Partners

50+

Nonprofit Partners

80,000+

Food Boxes Served

Make a contribution

Your financial gift supports ESDC’s Food for Hope Program and helps feed families who are struggling with food insecurity.

Sponsor a Program

Our symbiotic partnership begins here. Promote your business while you help create a ripple effect of progress across communities.

Invest Your Time

You have the power to become a part of the change you want to see in your community.
¡Si se puede!

Success Stories

Ollin Papalotl, Tlanez Xochitl Gonzalez

By Diana Hinojosa Tlanez Xotchitl’s rise as an entrepreneur has been an organic one. Whereas some entrepreneurs got their start early on as children while they set up their lemonade stands, she simply began making things she liked to wear as an adult. She tended to make things that were found in Mexico, but not Read the full article

Mandala Cafe, Evelin Maroldt and Nhedia Arocha

By Salvador Cerna According to the World History Encyclopedia, “A mandala (Sanskrit for “circle”) is an artistic representation of higher thought and deeper meaning given to a geometric symbol used in spiritual, emotional, or psychological work to focus one’s attention.” The encyclopedia also states that mandalas can be traced to Hindu texts from 1500 to Read the full article

Rockit Barber Shop, Oscar Colorado Vazquez

By Salvador Cerna Most immigrants leave friends, loved ones and their community behind as they set off in search of the American dream. Once they arrive in the United States, their economic, social, and cultural contributions can help strengthen our economic infrastructure, enrich our cultural framework, and make the U.S. a more dynamic nation. This Read the full article

Alex Esparza - Executive Director

Since 1976, ESDC has fostered the economy of Chicago’s Lower West Side, providing technical assistance to local businesses. In recent years, our mission and vision has evolved allowing our scope of work to include not only businesses, but also the families and individuals who are an essential part of a thriving economy. Our geographic scope has expanded to include other urban as well as suburban communities who have been disproportionately affected by the most recent economic downturn. When we look at our local small businesses, we also see the families who operate those businesses. We understand that their success can mean college tuition for their children, a dignified retirement, and a bridge across the wealth gap. When we look at our corporate and multinational businesses, we see the jobs created and the benefits they can bring to the communities we serve.

Our holistic approach to economic development also allows us to see individuals as integral parts of a whole. Through collaboration with our partners in both the private and nonprofit sectors, we can continue to work towards the economic well-being of the communities we serve. From the homeless individuals who want to re-enter the workforce or the artists who need entrepreneurial skills to sustain their craft, from the underemployed individual who wants a higher paying job to those who are unemployed and want to enter the workforce, everyone has a role in the local economy, and their success is their neighbor’s success.

ESDC will continue to adapt to our changing world offering innovative programs, technical assistance, and financial literacy through collaboration and dedication, well into the future.

Our Partners

Workshops

Entrepreneurship Capacity-Building Cohort Program Info Session

Event Date: February 6, 2024
6:00 pm

 Tuesday, February 6, 2024         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME ESDC’s Entrepreneurship Capacity-Building Cohort Program prepares aspiring entrepreneurs to launch a successful business. Business owners can also learn how to take their enterprise to the next phase of development. The program will focus on entrepreneurial building-blocks and access to capital: market research, business planning, Read the full article

Product-Market Fit Part II

Event Date: June 29, 2023
6:00 pm

THURSDAY, June 29, 2023         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME (US AND CANADA) A product-market fit analysis is central to the success of your business. It is of utmost importance to know whether your product is truly satisfying the need of the market in which it exists. David J. Hansen, Ph.D. is an educator Read the full article

Product-Market Fit Part I

Event Date: May 25, 2023
6:00 pm

THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2023         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME (US AND CANADA) A product-market fit analysis is central to the success of your business. It is of utmost importance to know whether your product is truly satisfying the need of the market in which it exists. David J. Hansen, Ph.D. is an educator Read the full article

Events

Entrepreneurship Capacity-Building Cohort Program Info Session

Event Date: February 6, 2024
6:00 pm

 Tuesday, February 6, 2024         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME ESDC’s Entrepreneurship Capacity-Building Cohort Program prepares aspiring entrepreneurs to launch a successful business. Business owners can also learn how to take their enterprise to the next phase of development. The program will focus on entrepreneurial building-blocks and access to capital: market research, business planning, Read the full article

Product-Market Fit Part II

Event Date: June 29, 2023
6:00 pm

THURSDAY, June 29, 2023         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME (US AND CANADA) A product-market fit analysis is central to the success of your business. It is of utmost importance to know whether your product is truly satisfying the need of the market in which it exists. David J. Hansen, Ph.D. is an educator Read the full article

Product-Market Fit Part I

Event Date: May 25, 2023
6:00 pm

THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2023         6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME (US AND CANADA) A product-market fit analysis is central to the success of your business. It is of utmost importance to know whether your product is truly satisfying the need of the market in which it exists. David J. Hansen, Ph.D. is an educator Read the full article

CONTACT ESDC

If you own a business, let us help you grow it. If you are an individual looking to improve your financial well-being, allow us to provide you with the tools you need to thrive. Our dedicated staff is fully bilingual and we are happy to serve you. Hablamos Español.

Economic Strategies Development Corporation
(312) 733-2287 | info@esdcchicago.org
1843 S. Carpenter St.,
Chicago, IL 60608
Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm