Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a new plan to entice companies to start up in Chicago: cheap co-working space.

Emanuel and World Business Chicago announced Monday a program that gives companies and entrepreneurs who are new or relocating to Chicago discounted access to the city’s network of co-working spaces and innovation hubs. Nine co-working spaces are participating in the program, with the goal of incentivizing startups to choose Chicago as a place to begin or move their business.

Emanuel announced the program Monday at an event in London with business leaders from Chicago and the UK.

“Chicago’s thriving coworking and entrepreneurial community offers emerging business leaders more than two million square feet of collaboration space and endless opportunities for innovation,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This referral program lowers the barrier of entry for businesses to build their Chicago presence and offers flexible and low-risk office solutions that allows companies to focus on what they do best.”

The participating co-working spaces include:

  • 1871
  • 2112
  • Blue1647
  • MakeOffices
  • mHub
  • TechNexus
  • UI Labs
  • WeWork

“World Business Chicago is often approached by companies around the world looking for a strong landing spot to grow their presence in Chicago,” Jeff Malehorn, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, added in the statement. “In addition to giving our organization the opportunity to truly support a company’s growth, this program opens up the office location pipeline and gives companies instant access to Chicago’s global business community.”

Here are the details of the discount, according to a spokesman for World Business Chicago: The discounted rates apply to new or newly relocated companies to Chicago who are “actively working with World Business Chicago.” The partnering co-working spaces will offer a 20% discounted monthly rate for the first three months, and a 10% discounted monthly rate for the last three months.

The announcement is the latest in an effort by Emanuel to make Chicago startup friendly. Emanuel regularly attends startup events and is a vocal proponent of the city’s tech community. The news also comes on the heels of Illinois’ looming corporate tax income rate hike, a move that could potentially deter new businesses from choosing Chicago as their headquarters.

Image via flickr