U. of C. launches local small business initiative

Staff Writer

The University of Chicago announced last week an initiative that would put businesses based on the Mid-South Side through a training program that would lead to contracts with the school and medical center.

The first class of 10 businesses began training last week: it includes Rome’s Joy Catering, 4455 S. Martin Luther King Dr., and Inter City Supply, 8830 S. Dobson Ave., with eight other businesses whose names the university did not disclose by Herald press time.

Inter City Supply distributes janitorial and office products and has been in business since 1978. Rome’s Joy Catering is operated by Clifford Rome, who has worked with celebrity chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Mario Batali. Rome lists the U. of C. among his clients on his website.

The university said in a statement that future phases of the UChicago Local initiative will include directories, marketing materials and forums for vendors to promote their businesses to the university and its affiliates.

The university’s initiative will focus on businesses within the Mid-South Side within the 60609, 60615, 60616, 60619, 60621, 60637, 60649 and 60653 ZIP codes.

It will focus on businesses that work in plant and maintenance services; food, dining and social activities; supplies and equipment; transportation and livery; shop supplies and equipment; equipment lease and rentals and space lease and rentals.

The university is also partnering with Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) to administer the program. CASE is led by World Business Chicago, a not-for-profit economic development organization led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. World Business Chicago’s mission is to create private sector growth and jobs “through the advancement of a business-friendly environment” in Chicago.