West Side Forward

West Side Forward's goal is to create economic opportunity and provide access to resources and support for the business community on the West Side of Chicago that lay the foundation to create living wage jobs in the community for residents.


West Side Forward> goal is to transform Chicago's West Side by substantially reducing poverty through workforce and business opportunities, programs and services to move 63,000 people into skilled work that can sustain their families.


WSF>'s primary investment areas for bringing about community transformation through business development, workforce development and industrial development advocacy on the West Side of Chicago.


WSF concentrates support 5 neighborhoods on Chicago's West Side: Austin, East and West Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and North Lawndale

To achieve our mission, West Side Forward> key focuses areas are:


  • Supporting Small Businesses & Creating Jobs.
  • Strengthen Workforce Readiness for Middle Skills Jobs in Select Sectors
  • Creating Infrastructure for Community Transformation



Accelerators and Incubators

  • Accelerator
  • Incubator

Business Planning

  • Business Plan Consulting
  • Demographic and Census Data
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Forming a Business

Economic and Site Development

  • Economic Forecast
  • Site Location Assistance

Events and Community Building

  • Hackathon / Startup Week or Weekends
  • Neighborhood Fairs and Festivals
  • Pitch Events
  • Startup Drinks

Financial Resources and Assistance

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Budget, Financial Statement and Cash Flow Training
  • Loans
  • Microloans

Human Resources, Workforce and Talent

  • Employee Development
  • Policies and Templates
  • Recruiting
  • Retention
  • Workforce Training

Internship Programs and Student Services

  • Internship Program

Libraries and Research

  • Business Research Resources
  • Demographic/Census Data

Management Issues

  • Human Resources
  • Leadership/Professional Development

Manufacturing, High Tech, Life Sciences Development

  • Manufacturing Development

Marketing and Sales

  • Competitive Analysis
  • Demographics/Census Data
  • Market Plan Development and Training


  • Formal Mentoring Programs
  • One-on-One Counseling
  • Peer Mentoring

Networking and Associations

  • Demographically Based
  • Geographically Based
  • Industry Specific
  • Small Business/General

Nonprofit and Social Enterprise

  • Strategic Planning

Product Development

  • Product Design and Development
  • Prototype Development
  • R&D Support

Public Policy and Government Relations

  • Small Business Policy

Regulatory Compliance

  • Registration, Licenses and Permits


  • Conference/Meeting and Event Space
  • Makerspace / Hackerspace

Starting a Business

  • Business Research Resources
  • Forming a Business
  • Registration, Licenses and Permits
  • Startup Business Counseling
  • Startup Classes

Technical Assistance

  • Bookkeeping/Accounting Software Training
  • Coding Schools, Bootcamps, Classes
  • Virtual Consulting and Online Services


  • Budget, Cash Flow and Financial Statements Training
  • Business Management Training
  • Business Plan Training and Assistance
  • Marketing Plan Training
  • Online Courses and Videos
  • Startup Classes
Primary ContactRoxanne Charles
Address1140 N. Lamon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60651
Phone(773) 694-3018