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The Five Forward Initiative
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Vision: To increase the number of minority business enterprises (MBEs) of scale and to create jobs in communities of color.


Mission: Engage the corporate community in our common goal of strengthening our economy and enhance job creation by supporting a stronger Chicagoland MBE Community.


  • More than double the number of direct and indirect jobs created between 2009 and 2014
  • An increase spend of $171,000,000 in MBEs by participating corporations from 2009 to 2014
  • Total economic impact of nearly $850 million over the five years of the program's existence

The Commitment:

Chicago area corporations commit to doing business with five local minority firms over five years. As local MBEs grow and enhance their position to compete for corporate contracts outside of Five Forward, the corporate community benefits from a more competitive pool of diverse businesses.


The Aspiration:

Chicago will boast the largest number of MBEs of scale in the country.  Minority-owned firms have a far greater propensity to hire from minority communities.  The expansion of locally owned and operated minority firms will add to the tax base, local sales, and support of local social institutions and community-based organizations.


Five Forward Committed Corporations:



BP America IncPeoples Gas and North Shore Gas
AdvocateAuroraHealthComEd, an Exelon CompanyRush University Medical Center
AGB Innovative Security SolutionsEYSDI Presence
AllstateFederal Reserve Bank of ChicagoShapiro + Raj
Aon plcHealth Care Services Corporation
University of IL at Chicago
Ariel InvestmentsKDM Engineering
University of Chicago Medicine
Baxter International Inc. Mesirow Financial
BMO Harris Bank
MolsonCoors Beverage Company
West Monroe Partners
The Boldt Company
 Wynndalco Enterprises


Five Forward MBE Partners:

Click here to view the directory of Five Forward MBE partners.


Make a commitment to Five Forward today!  To learn more, download the Five Forward Vision Brochure




The Chicago United Five Forward Initiative is produced in part through funding provided by:


The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States – communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. Learn more at



Program support by: 


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