New college startup competition says city wants young entrepreneurs right away

city-college-chicagoIn what could be considered an ingenious idea by any city looking to bolster the local economy, provide fresh perspective to the area, and fulfill a promise to provide jobs to high-achieving college grads, Chicago has designed a new competition for college entrepreneurs.

Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, ThinkChicago and 1871 this month (March 2014) launched the city of Chicago College Startup Competition (CCSC), a new effort to attract the leading collegiate business startups from around the country to Chicago.

Mayor Emanuel has set a goal of doubling the size of the city’s technology business by 2020, creating 40,000 jobs for the local economy.

As part of the CCSC, 1871 will provide up to 10 full-time desks at their 50,000 square-foot networking and business incubation space in The Merchandise Mart. The spaces will be designated for entrepreneurs who started their businesses while in college and wish to continue after graduation by moving to Chicago.

(Next page: How to apply; what winners receive)

The winners of the competition will receive a full free year of desk space, mentorship services, and all of the amenities that are made available to startups at the 1871 facility.

“This is exactly what ThinkChicago is about,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The City of Chicago remains focused on attracting the best and brightest tech entrepreneurs to Chicago. This opportunity will help future college graduates succeed while integrating their businesses directly with Chicago’s thriving tech community.”

ThinkChicago and 1871 will work with some of the leading entrepreneurial business plan competitions at colleges across the country to identify outstanding businesses that may be selected as the winning businesses. Businesses can also directly apply to 1871 and ThinkChicago to be considered for the program. This will ensure businesses that are not involved in ongoing entrepreneurship competitions can still have a chance to be offered a place in the program. A panel of current businesses located at 1871 and members of ThinkChicago will evaluate the additional entries for inclusion in the program.

“Collegiate businesses are in a unique position to be successful, and we believe that the resources that are available at 1871 will greatly help these young startups on their path,” said Howard A. Tullman, CEO of 1871.

Competition winners will have same access to all 1871 resources as existing businesses. 1871 will also create a working group focused specifically on the unique challenges facing collegiate entrepreneurs to support the new companies and future collegiate businesses that come to the City of Chicago.

Interested applicants should visit http://www.1871.com/CCSC or contact college@1871.com for more information. Competition winners will be publicly announced at ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza during the first week in August.


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