SDI Launches Chicago United’s Five Forward 20/20 Program Team

Innovative Initiative to Build Minority Businesses of Scale through Committed Partnerships

CHICAGO, November 17, 2016 – SDI (SDI Presence LLC), the mission-critical IT systems integrator, announced that it has launched its Five Forward 20/20 Team, as a part of Chicago United‘s Five Forward Initiative™ to strengthen the regional economy through the expansion of spending and partnerships with minority-owned businesses.  Following the structured Five Forward implementation process, SDI has selected MBE-certified Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc., R.M. Chin & Associates, Sierra Public Safety Group, SMaRT Technology Services, Inc., and Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, as its partners in delivering critical technology services throughout Chicagoland.

Based on a 2006 economic impact study of Chicago Metropolitan Area corporations’ spend with local minority business enterprises, minority firms represented 19.74% of all firms but received only 2.6% of all sales and receipts. This finding prompted the development of Chicago United’s Five Forward Initiative, a strategic initiative that enlists the commitment of CEOs of mid- to large-sized corporations in the Chicago metropolitan area to establish or expand business relationships with five current and/or new local minority firms. The first phase of the program included SDI, who achieved Diamond status, among 21 corporations that reported spending an aggregate total of over $350 million in 2014 with selected MBEs, an 82% increase over the numbers they reported in 2008, the first year of the program. These MBEs increased their staffing levels to support their contracts and the subsequent economic activity further enhanced employment. Job creation was measured by the University of Illinois for the early adopters of the program. Total job creation measured by the program grew from 1,955 in 2009 to 4,781 jobs in 2014.

“Generating economic growth of MBEs not only allows these businesses to increase capacity, grow in scale, and become capable of facilitating larger contracts; it will create jobs in communities of color,” states Chicago United President Gloria Castillo. “Firms like SDI have taken a leadership role in providing minority businesses the opportunity to experience lasting growth, which fuels our local economy.”

SDI was recently certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the City of Chicago and State of Illinois, in addition to the receiving MBE certification with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC). A CMSDC certification also provides SDI with National Minority Supplier Diversity Certification (NMSDC), one of the country’s leading diversity certification organizations that represent some of America’s largest public and privately-owned global companies.

“SDI’s participation in Chicago United’s Five Forward program is a natural fit with our firm’s long-standing commitment to diversity,” states SDI President David A. Gupta, named by Chicago United as a Business Leader of Color in 2007. “SDI appreciates Five Forward’s unique structure that encourages minority firms’ growth beyond typical procurement programs, and we look forward to being a leading driver in bringing this program to measurable success.”

In partnership with the University of Illinois Center for Urban Economic Development, Chicago United will monitor and publish the on-going economic impact of the next phase, the Five Forward 20/20 Program, based on participating MBE and committed firms’ mutually agreed upon spend estimates, quarterly financial reporting, and evaluation surveys.

About SDI (SDI Presence LLC)

Mission-critical systems integrator SDI delivers intelligent technology solutions to ensure client operational performance, security and revenue generation. With a 20-year corporate resume, SDI addresses the higher IT demands of critical environments to deliver zero downtime, enhanced security and risk mitigation strategies. SDI is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), with a portfolio of clients includes some of the nation’s largest airports, commercial real estate portfolios and national banks and financial services organizations. SDI delivers deep technical expertise and impeccable systems performance, with an agile delivery model focused on complete customer satisfaction. Visit us at and follow us on LinkedIn: SDI Presence and Twitter: @SDIPresence

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