New Evanston website promotes economic development


Screenshot: Evanston Edge

Evanston Edge is a new website that showcases local businesses. City officials hope the website will encourage residents to start their own enterprises.

Ivan Yeh, Reporter

Evanston recently launched a new website, Evanston Edge, to promote economic development for current and future city businesses.

Development for Evanston Edge began in April as part of the “city council’s goal of focusing on economic development this year,” said Erika Storlie, the city’s citizen engagement manager. Evanston’s economic development department runs the project, which focuses on attracting investors and businesses to open in Evanston while bolstering awareness for existing local enterprises in order to increase revenues for the city overall.

The website markets Evanston as a “unique, livable and innovative city on the edge of Chicago, Lake Michigan and the North Shore,” and provides information on various aspects of Evanston life as well as resources for starting a business.

“It is a hybrid of both an advertising tool used to educate business owners about locating their business in Evanston as well as highlighting existing businesses,” Storlie said.

Since its launch, Evanston Edge has generated momentum for economic development in the city, said Ald. Jane Grover (7th). She added that she is excited about the website’s potential for supporting local entrepreneurs.

“The website helps tell the story of Evanston in a way that targets existing and potential business owners,” she said. “I use it every time I get an inquiry from a prospective business owner. It allows us to create a connection to people, which is always more attractive and persuasive, and people can peruse the site on their own time to find out what’s going on in Evanston.”

Although Chicago neighborhoods such as Edgewater and Andersonville have initiated similar online ventures, Storlie said the model used for Evanston Edge was primarily inspired by the website of New York’s Economic Development Corporation. The group’s website features a variety of business resources to encourage economic growth in the city’s five boroughs.

Evanston is still “pretty far ahead of the curve” in terms of marketing and economic development compared to other U.S. cities, Grover said.

Storlie said she believes that there is still room for the website to grow. She said she hopes that it will ultimately help those curious about building their own businesses, specifically in Evanston.

“As with any online site, we hope that Evanston Edge continually evolves over time,” she said.