The growing impact of our ChicagoNEXT programs
“Chicago leads as a global city for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” These are the words that help shape the work of ChicagoNEXT, WBC’s dedicated initiative driving inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s thriving tech economy and innovation ecosystem.
Led by Chair Mark Tebbe and Director Abin Kuriakose, ChicagoNEXT manages a portfolio of programs and initiatives including the recently launched Startup Chicago, the Chicago Venture Summit, ThinkChicago, and the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge.
In early December ChicagoNEXT discovered a full circle moment with one of its program participants, who “graduated” from the ThinkChicago program. In partnership with the University of Illinois System, ThinkChicago connects students with career opportunities in the city’s tech and innovation ecosystem.
“This is a prime example of the impact of our programming,” said Abin Kuriakose. “By helping to connect students to thought leadership, resources and support in the tech community through our programs and events, we are also helping to realize the next big idea, solution or niche.”
Eschaton Technologies, a Chicago-based startup focused on communication systems and technology for self-driving vehicles was founded by Ian Dilick, a 2019 & 2020 ThinkChicago Chicago Ideas Week participant.
Today, Ian is featured on Startup Chicago – ChicagoNEXT’s new flagship program to connect the city’s most promising startups with investors.
As a Loyola University Chicago student, majoring in Entrepreneurship and Information Systems, Ian joined hundreds of other university students who hail from schools in the Midwest and other parts of the country and participated in the annual ThinkChicago program.
“It’ll be funny seeing my own name in there — I’ve come from attending ThinkChicago over the past two years to now being listed in Startup Chicago!” said Ian. “And I recently connected with WBC’s business development & global strategy team to learn more about how Chicago is prime to be a hub for connected vehicles. ThinkChicago really worked as a great launchpad of sorts for me. Super glad that it’s helped me get this far this quickly, and I really appreciate everything that the ChicagoNEXT and WBC team does!”
(ThinkChicago Chicago Ideas 2019 and ThinkChicago Lollapalooza 2019)