clicking on all cylinders
July 18, 2005
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
This morning the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center names Click
Commerce founder and CEO Michael Ferro Jr. co-chairman of its
board of directors. Ferro replaces Andy McKenna Jr., president
of Schwartz Paper Co.
fellow co-chair at the CEC is Motorola Vice President Jim O'Connor
Jr., who is responsible for accelerating the commercial adoption
of Motorola's global array of technology.
Motorola's global muscle to the Entrepreneurial Center, and Ferro
provides proven entrepreneurial credentials. Doors will be opening
for Chicago's emerging enterprises.
CEC is one of the best things for entrepreneurs," says Ferro,
who believes helping entrepreneurs build relationships with established
companies that lead to sales is more important than raising venture
the business first
In the dot.com
days entrepreneurs developed business cases and raised money for
unproven ventures. Ferro's dead set against that model.
not out telling people to build PowerPoint presentations and raise
money. We're telling people, build the business," says Ferro.
"We're going to help them raise money."
qualified entrepreneurs to established corporate executives is
Ferro's priority. He points to Abbott Labs CEO Miles White as
an example. "If the entrepreneur has something that fits
Abbott Labs and they are a proven company, we can get them that
meeting," says Ferro.
an entrepreneur's resume that shows he can deliver on that promise.
He's vice chairman of the Economic Club of Chicago. He sits on
the board of the Executives' Club, the Field Museum and the Museum
of Science and Industry. He's a member of the Commercial Club.
He also serves on several charitable boards.
adds fire power that will take us to the next level," says
CEC President David Weinstein. "We want to be viewed as a
national model for entrepreneurial resource centers."
says that over the past two years, the CEC helped 65 entrepreneurs
secure over $30 million in sales to established companies. The
CEC also helped local entrepreneurs execute 30 transactions collectively
valued at over $9 million. For fledgling enterprises that kind
of help can be life-giving.
and O'Connor guiding the board and Weinstein at the helm, the
CEC appears headed in the right direction. Weinstein is quick
to credit Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Roper for
the unit's success.
the lead in incubating the CEC within the Chamber's walls and
hired Weinstein to run it.
picked up the call to action from the civic community in 1999,"
says Weinstein. "He made a home for the CEC. Jerry is the
founder. The fact that it is housed in a business organization
and not a charity or a university is part of why this model is
working so well.
finally starting to get corporations in this town to work more
closely with emerging entrepreneurs."
accelerate that trend.
For his part,
Roper says, "I see the CEC reinventing the Chamber of Commerce.
It's the future."
for the 4th annual Chicago Innovation Awards is July 31. You've
got just 14 days to nominate a meritorious Chicago-area innovation.
well-deserved attention to a Chicago-area innovator. Recognize
a home grown new product or service. Go to www.chicagoinnovationawards.
com for a nomination form.
don't have to be high-tech, but they must be innovative. So scratch
your head. Is there a new Chicago-bred product or service that's
really clever? It can be for-profit or not-for-profit. It can
be in the commercial sector or the public sector. If it's innovative
and deserving recognition, submit a nomination. Just hurry.
Innovation Awards are presented by the Chicago Sun-Times and Kuczmarski
& Associates. The 2005 award is presented by Wm. Wrigley Jr.
Co., a world leader in developing new products in confections,
and sponsored by companies that proven their support for innovation:
software leader Microsoft Corp., communications specialists Slack
Barshinger, and innovative design-and-production house Digital
will be profiled in the Sun-Times Oct. 11, and awards will be
presented Oct. 18 at the Goodman Theatre.
Krauss is a Chicago-area tech writer and consultant.