Inc. Well's Picks for Top 2011 Chicago Biz Stories

Should old acquaintance be forgot, or merely summed up in a short series of posts summing up what we feel are the most seismic, tragic, or inspirational Chicago business stories of 2011? We're opting for the latter, mainly because most of the lyrics to that song are inscrutable and hardly English.

So, to put it in layman's terms, here are the Inc. Well writers' picks for what best summed up this roller-coaster of a year. Tune in next year -- also known as early next week -- for part two. And have a happy and safe celebratory weekend, dear readers.

Inspiring Mom Entrepreneur Raises Millions in Funding
Chicago's own Jessica Kim, mom entrepreneur and founder of Babbaco, received $1.2 million in funding this year to continue running her company and launch the ingenious Babbabox .  What could be more impressive than raising that kind of capitol in this kind of economy? 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Means Business
Our blizzards, sports teams and cultural happenings notwithstanding, no event in 2011 had greater impact than the installation of Rahm Emanuel as mayor -- and nobody sells a city to those outside it like a new mayor.  Since he took office, he has made it very clear he wants to enhance Chicago’s rep as a global business hub.  Mayor Emanuel has quickly built a robust social media presence, one catalyzed by the Facebook Town Hall Meeting he conducted in June, and urges small businesses in Chicago to embrace digital technology.

SC Johnson Ends 50-Year Relationship with DraftFCB
SC Johnson, one of the biggest producers of household products like Windex and Ziploc, said goodbye to advertising agency DraftFCB this past July. SCJ spends over $400 million in the U.S. on advertising, and over $1 billion globally, making it one of the largest accounts Draft ever had. The Chicago office, which handled much of the workload, saw numerous layoffs. After a rigorous review process, SCJ now divides the account between Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO.

Groupon Allegedly Linked to a Known Ex-Con
You didn't think a list like this would skip over Groupon, did you? Perhaps the one story that best sums up Groupon's wild expansion and manic-depressive ups and downs was when Andrew Mason's company first offered, then reneged and canceled a deal for a "luxury bus trip" to Las Vegas from San Diego when it became clear the company couldn't deliver. This incensed some customers who had already made plans around it, and those who went ahead with it anyway were treated to subpar customer service and the possibility that the vendor might have stolen their credit card numbers. In the background of all this? Groupon's ballyhooed IPO. It's like a madcap Coen brothers movie, only, you know, it actually happened.

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