Chicago Initiative Exposes Tech-Enabled Businesses for Opportunity Zones

By: XtraMedium Communications Corp
CHICAGO - May 13, 2019 - PRLog -- XtraMedium Communications has officially opened registration for its Array of Opportunity initiative.  The AoO is a unique human-centered collaboration to develop and deploy businesses in Opportunity Zones or O-Zones as a benefit to communities and investors alike. The Array of Opportunity gets its moniker from its relationship with the urban sensing initiative the Argonne National Labs' Array of Things, and the growing interests for community investments in O-Zones.

The endgame of the AoO is to create vision clusters – block by block groupings of scalable tech-enabled startups from O-Zone operating business investments which will also take advantage of O-Zone property investments in longstanding economically distressed areas.

Enacted by the IRS in 2018, Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing superior tax benefits to investors in qualified low-income areas. Billions of dollars are already being allocated for real estate O-Zone investments, however, O-Zone investments in operating businesses are considered most impactful as a community development tool and beneficial for financial returns from this long-term investment vehicle.

The Array of Opportunity is an integrative approach, seeking to draw on a brain trust centering on research questions about the built environment, transportation, public safety and commerce and then answers that are commercialized locally into future-forward advances.

XtraMedium is betting the incoming wave of urban innovators will address longstanding issues of distressed urban areas like the over 135 Opportunity Zones in Chicago by connecting successful businesses with economic and social impact.  The businesses themselves may be traditional mom & pop shops using tech to enhance their business offering or altogether future forward innovators.

In order to reduce the financial risks, the AoO supports innovative companies that scale up.  "We don't want another traditional chicken shack, but we might be interested in the chicken-delivery drone company ." Steven C. Philpott, Sr, CEO XtraMedium Communication and Lead Investigator AoO.

The Array of Opportunity is a quadruple-helix civic tech approach connecting local entrepreneurs, municipal leaders, industry, and academia to identify research questions posed by community and develop proposed businesses that will solve them by leveraging urban sensing, IoT devices, and other innovations.

XtraMedium believes the AoO will normalize digital windows for exposing budding tech-enabled startups for and from O-Zones and drive collaboration to strengthen operational growth.

"During our 18-month Colony 5 inclusive tech-enabled businesses incubator, we found while many entrepreneurs were interested in deploying competitive and scalable businesses as an economic driver apart from the central business district and as a force to help communities thrive, there were few funding opportunities to support development of the startup operation and acquisition or upgrade of the selected locations.  With Opportunity Zone investments we immediately saw the chance to connect innovation with true urban renewal."

There are currently five startup concepts intended for one of the 135 O-Zones in the Chicago market.

Registration on the AoO enables:

1.     entrepreneurs to form or join startup concept teams

2.     researchers and subject matter experts to support startup teams

3.     input by community members and municipal leaders

4.     ongoing sentiment and voting by the community and general public

To Participate in the Array of Opportunity:  The AoO is currently open for registration at Entrepreneurs can submit their concepts at any stage of development.  In August 2019, the Array of Opportunity will begin publishing submissions, startup team challenges, and ongoing public reviews to hone each solution's model and source research and resulting business initiatives.  Subject matter experts and mentors will be vetted by XtraMedium and the Array of Opportunity Advisory board of industry and academic partners.

Community sessions and projects are offered via local partner Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation to further engage participants interested in areas i.e. mobility, machine learning, data modeling, etc. Sessions and courses will be available both onsite and online at XtraMedium's Blerd University.

For more information about upcoming Array of Opportunity send an email to

XtraMedium Communications Group

Founded in 2002 we promote the education in and utilization of smart city infrastructures through information sessions, access, and connectivity to key resources focused on growing local economies. Partners include Northwestern University Farley School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Illinois Institute if Technology, Design for America, Englewood Small Business Development Corporation (Englewood SBDC), the AoT Team, Chicago's Departments of Innovation and Technology, Planning and Development, Rocket Wagon Enterprise IoT & Digital services, Chicago Beverage Systems, Reyes Holdings and Great Lakes Coca Cola, and Intel Insight Labs.

About the Array of Things
The AoT, which produces real-time data about the environment, infrastructure, and activity, will serve as a clearinghouse of use cases and trends published openly and without charge.  AoT is a partnership among Argonne National laboratory, the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the U.S. National Science Foundation and includes scientists at several dozen additional research institutions including Northern Illinois University, Vanderbilt University, and industry partnerships with AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, and Motorola Solutions.

About Colony 5
Created in 2017 Colony 5 is an inclusive innovation business accelerator and developer of apps the annual apps competition the Civic Tech Challenge derived from past social venture collaborations with City of Chicago, Center for Neighborhood Technology, City of Chicago BCAP, World Business Chicago, the Array of Things Executive Oversight Committee, U.S. Census Bureau, the Illinois Green Buildings Council and a bevy of advisors and allies.

About Englewood Community Development Corporation
Greater Englewood CDC's mission is to rebrand, rebuild and revitalize the Greater Englewood Community by building on existing community assets and facilitating ongoing collaborations between residents and other key stakeholders. We execute this through business and workforce development, workshops and advisory, as well as real estate initiatives.

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