Mayor Lightfoot joins Techstars Chicago to announce Chicago Startup Week 2021


Chicago’s largest student-led entrepreneurship conference brings 2500+ STEM students & tech professionals virtually exploring the city’s thriving startup ecosystem

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Techstars Chicago today to announce the launch of Chicago Startup Week 2021 (CSW), a five-day virtual event from March 15-19 celebrating the city’s thriving startup and entrepreneurial communities.  

“Chicago couldn’t be prouder to host the thousands of participants celebrating our city’s dynamic, resilient, and growing entrepreneur and innovation scene,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “For years now Chicago has been working to develop its cutting-edge, inclusive, and industry-wide innovation ecosystem with events like Chicago Startup Week. Now, empowering our Chicago’s startups is more important than ever as we work to recover from COVID-19 and build a new foundation for our city’s future.” 

Techstars Chicago Startup Week is led by Illinois Tech’s Intinium in partnership with The Garage at Northwestern, Loyola Limited, UIUC Founders, UChicago International Leadership Council: E&T, CPS Lane Tech Protostar, and City Colleges of Chicago.

Chicago Startup Week is a five-day celebration of our local community,” said Neal Sales-Griffin, Managing Director of Techstars Chicago and local serial tech entrepreneur. “We’re calling all students to join our community in a new type of conference that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship, led by an all-student organizing committee. CSW 2021 is a reflection of Chicago’s diverse and unique entrepreneurial identity.”

Chicago Startup Week 2021 was made possible through the generous support of lead sponsor Uber Freight, and additional sponsors including Illinois Tech Student Activity Fund, G2, P33, Gamerjibe, Illinois Growth & Innovation Fund, Illinois Tech Kaplan Institute, Gokyo Solutions, and ThinkChicago of World Business Chicago.

“When we moved Uber Freight’s HQ to Chicago, we recognized the city’s thriving tech and innovation ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight. “Uber has long recognized the incredible history, innovation, and talent that Chicago has to offer, and we’re excited to support the city’s startups and entrepreneurs. We are also excited to engage with thousands of bright high school and university students from all over the city and state.”

“I am incredibly thankful that there are so many motivated students from all over the Chicago area that participated in the making of this event,” said Justine Bracco, Project Lead of Intinium. “Each one of us is excited to show off the Chicago entrepreneurial community and everything it can offer. We hope that we have provided an event that is educational, enjoyable, and inspires students to create an even more united Chicago community.”

“Chicago’s startup scene is diverse, young, and thriving,” said Kristi Ross, Co-CEO of tastytrade. “Chicago Startup Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our dynamic community of entrepreneurs and innovators.”

The five-day event of virtual programming includes:

  • Keynote remarks by:
    • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot;
    • Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar;
    • Kristi Ross – Co-CEO & President, tastytrade;
    • Vic Mensa – Hip-hop Artist, Founder of SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation
    • Chris Gladwin – CEO of Ocient;
    • Brad Keywell – CEO and Founder of Uptake;
    • Charles Adler – Co-Founder of Kickstarter
  • 50+ events ranging from workshops to networking events.
  • Pitch competition for student startups, which include sponsors DormRoomFund,The Coleman Foundation, Quarles & Brady LLP, and TechNexus. 

Register today by visiting www.chicagostartupweek.com

About Chicago Startup Week 2021: 

Techstars Chicago Startup Week celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurial communities in Chicago by bringing students, entrepreneurs, and professionals together in a way that they can connect, share, and bond. From March 15-19, participants in CSW 2021 can choose events that are grouped into topics of interest. Local and global leaders are brought in to share their expertise to teach, motivate, and inspire the entrepreneurial community. Learn more at www.chicagostartupweek.com

Techstars Chicago Startup Week is brought to you by IIT’s Intinium in partnership with The Garage at Northwestern, Loyola Limited, UIUC Founders, UChicago International Leadership Council, CPS Lane Tech Protostar, and City Colleges of Chicago. Thank you to CSW 2021 presenting sponsor Uber Freight, and sponsors: Illinois Tech Student Activity Fund, G2, P33, Gamerjibe, Illinois Growth & Innovation Fund, Illinois Tech Kaplan Institute, Gokyo Solutions, and ThinkChicago of World Business Chicago.

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