Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a new partnership with real estate brand Flats Chicago that aims to make use of vacant sites and support Chicago’s small businesses by investing in the community and its residents.

The ‘Up the Block’ program will match developers with local small businesses, helping companies with rent reductions and improving neighborhoods by providing new commercial options and less vacancies. To kick off the initiative, the city will partner with FLATS Chicago on the #FLATSProject, which will bring up to four unique new small businesses to different vacant storefronts in the Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Chicago’s economy and by pairing local businesses with property developers in the Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods, we are encouraging their growth while investing in the community and its residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a news release. “The Up the Block program will build upon Chicago’s success in creating new local jobs and connecting small businesses to the resources they need to thrive.”

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to helping the area’s small businesses as they are the job creators that drive our regional economy. Through programs like the “Fueling Business Growth” initiative as well as the 2014 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award, the Chamber is working to provide resources and drive growth for Chicago’s emerging businesses.

Click here to read a DNAinfo Chicago story on the partnership.

Click here to read the Mayor's press release with details on the program.