CHICAGO, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A pilot program to create local jobs and expand the economy through corporate expenditures with area minority-owned businesses (MBEs) generated more than 1,400 jobs and led to a 21 percent rise in total corporate spending with selected MBEs from 2009 to 2011, Chicago United reported today. The results of Chicago United's Five Forward Initiative were released at a forum held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The forum featured a keynote address on economic development by Don Graves, deputy assistant secretary for Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Chicago United, a member organization that advocates for multiracial leadership in business, launched the initiative in 2008 as a pilot to increase spending by mid- to large-sized Chicago-area enterprises with local MBEs, thereby leading to significant regional economic impact. To quantify the economic benefits and impact of this Initiative, Chicago United collaborated with the University of Illinois' Regional Economics Application Laboratory (REAL). Data were analyzed from 2009 through 2011 as reported by Five Forward Committed Corporations. Expenditures by 18 Committed Corporations with 50 MBE partners were analyzed in this survey. This assessment included the direct and indirect impacts including the multiplier effect (i.e., the manner in which a direct expenditure leads to subsequent rounds of spending, and thus total economic impact). The results of this impact analysis showed that the expenditures by Committed Corporations with their MBE partners generated a direct impact of $227.7 million. About $67 million of these direct expenditures were paid in wages and salaries. This led to the creation of 1,424 jobs. "This pilot provides a unique model for local and regional leaders to add to their 'tool belt' in developing broader regional economic plans, targeting job creation where it is needed most and ensuring that all parts of our communities have the opportunity to thrive," said Graves, who was the executive director of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House. "We look forward to further engagement and leadership from committed corporations and their MBE partners in helping to drive economic growth."