Connecting Top Talent with Innovative Businesses


Twice each year, during Lollapalooza and Chicago Ideas Week, Mayor Rahm Emanual invites top university students to ThinkChicago to meet with Chicago technology leaders, explore companies, and attend various events including the Lollapalooza music festival and Chicago Ideas Week programming.

Students are accepted into the program based on their interest in technology, innovation, and/or entrepreneurship, and a commitment to excellence as demonstrated by academic, professional, and/or extracurricular activities.

“I absolutely love ThinkChicago and really owe a lot to it. I wouldn’t have started my company if it weren’t for the program. I was going to move to California.” – Matt Unger, Roompact Founder

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks with ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza 2014 attendees at startup incubator 1871








Grow Chicago’s Talent Pool

Make Chicago Top-of-Mind for Starting a Career

Connect Chicago Companies with the Talent

> 600

Students have participated in the ThinkChicago program

Nation's Top University Students

A competitive admissions process brings some of the nation's most talented students from universities including MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Cornell, Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon, Princeton, and London School of Economics to explore Chicago's innovation ecosystem.

Connecting Top Talent with Innovative Businesses

Companies like Civis Analytics, Gogo, Groupon, HERE, kCura, Morningstar, Motorola, and Threadless say they're likely to interview and/or hire ThinkChicago students

> 80%

Of participating companies surveyed said they plan to interview and/or hire ThinkChicago students


  • 70% of alumni say the program positively impacted their desire to live/work in Chicago
  • 80% of companies say they plan to interview or hire ThinkChicago students
  • > 62% of alumni who have jobs work in Chicago
  • 74% of alumni are interested in volunteering for future ThinkChicago programs

  • Program expanded from from 50 students a year to 275 and growing
  • Recruiting has expanded from 13 midwest Universities to 30+ nationwide