Executive Vice President of Innovation and Venture Strategy
Abin Kuriakose leads and manages World Business Chicago’s innovation & venture portfolio of programs, driving inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy and innovation ecosystem. His flagship programs include Startup Chicago, the Chicago Venture Summit, ThinkChicago, and Venture Engine. Supported by a council of 200+ tech community leaders, WBC innovation & venture programs:
- expand access to capital for local startups;
- develop, attract & retain diverse STEM talent;
- drives innovation through industry, university, and national laboratory partnerships;
- and promote Chicago tech & innovation globally
Previously, Abin was the first program manager for ChicagoNEXT, WBC’s orginal tech initiaitve (now rebranded WBC Innovation & Venture) from 2016-2018 where he led the 2017 and 2018 Chicago Venture Summit; he later became Director of ChicagoNEXT in 2019. Abin launched his career in Cook County Government, where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Public Policy and Director of Community Affairs & Engagement for the Board of Commissioners (Tenth District) – the county’s legislative and governing body. During his time in government, Abin specialized in public policy development, legislative affairs, and community engagement. He served as the lead policy staffer for the Cook County Board’s Pension Committee, and the Workforce, Housing, and Community Development Committee. He also developed OpenPensions.org, one of the first open-data platforms in county government.
He is especially passionate about civic engagement and empowerment – especially with youth, immigrant, and New American communities. In November 2019, Abin was appointed by Governor J.B. Pritzker as a memebr of the State of Illinois’ Asian American Employment Plan Advisory Council. He’s a 2022 Emerging Leader of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a member of the Chicago South Asian American Civic Engagement Coalition led by the Indo-American Center, and an advisor for the Illinois Asian American Caucus. He’s also a mentor for both startups participating in Techstars, and grad students of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. Previously, Abin served on boards of New Leaders Council Chicago, Heartland Health Centers, and the Chicago South Asian Arts Council.
Abin attended DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business where he was the recipient of the DePaul Scholar’s Award. He is a 2018 Civic Leaders Academy (CLA) Fellow of the University of Chicago, where he received his certificate in civic leadership. In 2017, Abin was recognized as one of “35 under 35 Young Leaders Making An Impact” by Chicago Scholars. A lifelong Chicagoan, Abin was born and raised in the city’s northside neighborhoods and will forever be a fan of the Chicago Cubs and a new fan of the Chicago Fire (where you can catch him in the summer watching soccer games at Soldier Field).