Venture Program Manager, ChicagoNEXT

World Business Chicago (WBC) is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city.

As an initiative of World Business Chicago (WBC) supported by a council of 250+ tech community leaders, ChicagoNEXT drives inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy and innovation ecosystem through their portfolio of programs and initiatives. ChicagoNEXT flagship programs include the Startup Chicago, the Chicago Venture Summit, and ThinkChicago.

As Chicago’s flagship venture capital conference, the Chicago Venture Summit brings together the local, regional and national venture capital firms with our best and brightest entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The most recent 2018 summit attracted 150+ venture capital firms, 400+ in total attendance, and showcased 100+ local startups seeking VC funding. As an extension of the Summit, Startup Chicago is ChicagoNEXT’s new startup growth program which connects local, venture-ready startups with active investors across the country to accelerate growth. The program includes a database for startup discovery, national investor showcases, and partnerships with local ecosystem partners to help entrepreneurs scale in Chicago.


World Business Chicago is seeking a full-time Venture Program Manager to support ChicagoNEXT’s venture programs and initiatives.

The Program Manager will serve as the primary coordinator and project manager of both Startup Chicago and the Chicago Venture Summit, reporting to the ChicagoNEXT Director and receiving leadership, engagement and direction from the ChicagoNEXT Chair, World Business Chicago leadership and other relevant stakeholders. The Program Manager will have an interest in Chicago’s technology and venture capital community and some experience working with technology companies, venture capital firms and/or entrepreneur support organizations. The Program Manager will have excellent project management, organization and communication skills, and an ability to thrive in complex environments and manage multiple work-streams simultaneously.


Project Management & Operations

  • Serve as primary project manager for both the Startup Chicago Program and the Chicago Venture Summit event with all relevant stakeholders
  • Ensure that all projects are delivered on-time, within scope and within budget.
  • Maintain comprehensive project documentation.

Program Development

  • Work with ChicagoNEXT partners and relevant stakeholders on development of virtual events, showcases, and convening.
  • Research best practices and develop strategic program extensions to ChicagoNEXT’s existing portfolio of venture-focused programming.
  • Help scale ChicagoNEXT venture-focused programming with City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force (RTF) target industries and priorities.

Venture Capital & Technology Community Engagement

  • Successfully manage multiple relationships with various stakeholders in Chicago’s venture capital and technology community.
  • Lead research and discovery of national VC firms and tech-focused investors who have a strong interest in Chicago’s startup ecosystem

External Communications

  • Support communications strategy with selected partners to advertise and build awareness of Startup Chicago and the Chicago Venture Summit
  • Contribute to communications products, including outreach plans, press releases and blog posts to drive awareness of Startup Chicago and the Chicago Venture Summit
  • Manage maintenance and updates for the program website and other relevant digital and social media assets.



  • Ability to work effectively across a variety of skill areas, including project management, communications, content creation, event planning and execution.
  • Awareness of and experience working within Chicago’s venture and technology community.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including WBC staff, board members, government stakeholders, and outside advisors.
  • Self-starter with the ability to work independently as well as with a team; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives.
  • Excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills.
  • Commitment to deliver against deadlines; ability to handle high priority and pressure situations.
  • An entrepreneurial approach is a must, and experience working in a startup environment with evolving priorities and processes preferred.


  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in event and/or project management with knowledge of Chicago’s venture & startup ecosystem preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive applications.
  • Financial budget and project management experience.
  • Ability to travel as needed.


If interested, please send a cover letter, resume, and list of 3-5 professional references with references contact information to:

Carrie Simmons

World Business Chicago

177 N State St #500

Chicago IL 60601