A dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity in Chicago’s technology community, governed by a council of industry leaders

Areas of Focus

Attract Venture Capital

Attract and Retain Technology Talent

Partner with Industry to Foster Innovation

Empower Marginalized Communities Through Entrepreneurship


Mark Tebbe, Chairman – University of Chicago Booth School of Business

J.B. Pritzker, Chairman Emeritus – Pritzker Group

Our Vision for Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Inclusive entrepreneurship strives for involvement of all entrepreneurs – particularly those in underrepresented communities – in order to create stronger communities, to close the opportunity gap, and to scale creative solutions to persistent citywide problems. 

Inclusive entrepreneurship will be accomplished by supporting the startup ecosystem throughout all of Chicago, and by specifically focusing on entrepreneurial ventures in underrepresented communities. Enabling entrepreneurs who bring diversity of thought, background, and experience will lead to a more sustainable and authentically inclusive economy.

Key Initiatives

Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge

Providing $3M in grant funding to innovative organizations that effectively recruit and support diverse entrepreneurs and scale startups in Chicago

Chicago Venture Summit

Connecting venture funding to Chicago entrepreneurs

ChicagoNEXT Fintech Committee

A dedicated effort to grow Chicago’s fintech community


Connecting diverse talent with opportunities to innovate in Chicago

ChicagoNEXT Council

Shradha Agarwal – Outcome Health

Haven Allen – mHub

Andrew Appel – IRI Worldwide

Jeff Aronin – Marathon Pharmaceuticals

TJ Augustine –  University of Illinois

David Baker – Smart Grid Cluster

Brenna Berman – UI LABS

Hardik Bhatt – State of Illinois

Erik Birkerts – Clean Energy Trust

Jason Blumberg – Energy Foundry

Mike Bousch – Discover Financial Services

George Bousis – Raise

Steve Brodsky – Spot Trading

Sean Brown – yCharts

Emile Cambry Jr – Blue 1647

Sach Chitnis – Jump Capital

Andrew Cittadine – Diagnostic Photonics

Steven Collens – MATTER

Melissa Crounse Kaufman – Northwestern University

Brandon Cruz – GoHealth

Linda Darragh – Northwestern University

Steve DeBretto – Fulton-Carroll Center by Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago

Vahe Dombalagian – Madison Dearborn Partners

Danielle DuMerer – City of Chicago

Laura Ferris Anderson – JP Morgan Chase

Scott Fetters – 2112

David Fisher – Enova

Brian Fitzpatrick – Tock

Declan Flanagan – Lincoln Clean Energy

John Flavin – University of Chicago

Amy Francetic – Invenergy

Steve Frenkel – Current

Laura Frerichs – University of Illinois

Mike Gamson – LinkedIn

Sonny Garg – Uptake

Chris Gladwin – Ocient

Al Goldstein – Avant

Brett Goldstein – Ekistic Ventures

Steve Gould – Abundant Venture Partners

Antonio Gracias – Valor Equity Partners

Jim Gray – G-Bar

Mark Harris – Illinois Science and Technology Coalition

Jason Heltzer – Origin Ventures

Jason Henrichs – FinTEx Chicago

Adolfo Hernandez – Pritzker Foundation

Fred Hoch – Illinois Technology Association

Roger Hochschild – Discover Financial Services

John Hoesley – The PrivateBank

Terry Howerton – TechNexus

Israel Idonije – Israel Idonije Foundation

Amit Jhawar – Braintree

Julia Kanouse – Illinois Technology Association

Mohit Kapoor – TransUnion

Brad Keywell – Uptake

Adam Koopersmith – Pritzker Group Venture Capital

Logan LaHive – Techstars

April Lane – Catapult Chicago

Amanda Lannert – Jellyvision

Nathan Laurell – New Frontier Holdings

Bruce Leech – DePaul University

Eric Lefkofsky – Tempus

Michael Liang – Baird Venture Partners

Roger Liew – ShopRunner

Phyllis Lockett – LEAP Innovations

Eric Lunt – Signal

Linwood Ma – tastytrade

Matt Maloney – GrubHub

Joe Mansueto – Morningstar

Talia Mashiach – Eved

Ryan Miller – Bank of America

David Miller – DePaul University

Jeff Miller – Motorola Mobility

Rumi Morales – CME Group

Scott Murray – Northern Trust

Phil Nevels – ComEd

Caralynn Nowinski Collens – UI Labs

Gerald O’Connor – CBOE

Jim O’Connor, Jr. – William Blair

Maura O’Hara – Illinois Venture Capital Association

Dan O’Neil – Ad Hoc

Andrew Perlman – GreatPoint Energy

Peter Pfanner – University of Illinois at Chicago

Eero Pikat – Barchart

Michael Polsky – Invenergy

Daphne Preuss – Chromatin

J.B. Pritzker – Pritzker Group

Harper Reed – Braintree

Warren Ribley – iBio

Norbert Riedel – Aptinyx

Josh Roberts – The PrivateBank

Jim Robinson – Astellas Pharma

Benedict Rocchio – Baird Venture Partners

Nick Rosa – Sandbox Industries

Kristi Ross – tastytrade

Pat Ryan Jr. – INCISENT Labs

Neal Sales-Griffin – CodeNow

David Schonthal – IDEO

Joe Scoby – Magnetar

Jai Shekhawat – SAP Fieldglass

Andrew Sieja – kCura

Charles Smith – CS Insurance Strategies

Shelley Stern Grach – Microsoft

Tim Stojka – Agentis Energy

Nancy Sullivan – IllinoisVENTURES

Nishu Thukral – Pangea Money Transfer

Matthew Tirrell – University of Chicago

Kimberly Trautmann – DRW

Howard Tullman – 1871

Guy Turner – Hyde Park Venture Partners

Laura Van Peenan – William Blair

Catherine Vorwald – Illinois Institute of Technology

Dan Wagner – Civis Analytics

Tim Walbert – Horizon Pharma

Sona Wang – Ceres Venture Fund

Alex Washington – Wind Point Partners

David Weinstein – Freshwater Advisors

Peter Wilkins – Hyde Park Angels

Kevin Willer – Chicago Ventures

Don Wilson – DRW

Jessica Yagan – Impact Engine

Sam Yagan – ShopRunner

Jeff Yordon – Sagent Pharmaceuticals

Rick Zullo – Lightbank