This year the IBM Innovation Center in Chicago stepped up its effort to tap into the Startup/Entrepreneur market in Chicago by working more within the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program.
As such, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to @David_Gardner from ColorJar by what I now know is the typical way of introducing one person to another in the world of entrepreneurship:a one line email.
“Coreen meet David, David meet Coreen”.
David met with me at the IBM Innovation Center and mapped out the ecosystem in Chicago from organizations like Technori and Built in Chicago to 1871 which is a not-for-profit featuring over 225 members with office space for startups in the area. David introduced me to the key people at each of those locations again with one of those famous one line emails.
I started a journey of reaching out and meeting more people who introduced me to venture capitalists, entrepreneur lawyers, incubators, and startups. I felt the excitement every time I visited 1871 or attended one of Technori’s pitch nights and it instills a contagious feeling that you want to meet more people and get more involved.
This all led up to our June 11th IBM Global Entrepreneur program Mentor Day in Chicago where we had five very influential mentors and five finalists that pitched to an audience to decide an ultimate “winner:” WeDeliver. For a related read, check out this blog from Seth Kravitz (@SecondCityCEO), a Co-founder of Technori and one of the mentors: http://bit.ly/18n6wEH.
So why am I writing about this now…well the journey did not stop there.
Since the Mentor Day our finalists have participated in other pitch nights, volunteered to work with marketing students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Business’ International Entrepreneurship 2013 Fall session and started working with key areas within IBM around Smarter Commerce and Business Analytics. I have also talked to IIT and Booth School of Business, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Northwestern who has just started to map out their Entrepreneur program through their Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation: http://fcei.northwestern.edu/entrepreneurship-at-nu/index.html
So what’s next for Chicago? Working with IIT on an Entrepreneur track at their next big technical conference on October 17th, participating with the Scale Up Milwaukee Project on October 18th featuring Eric Apse (@eapse) from IBM’s Venture Capital group as a panel member with WeDeliver (our Mentor Day winner) and presenting at a breakout session
Some exciting opportunities for me personally as well as the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program !
And it all started with a one-line email.