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New Facility to Promote Women-Owned Tech Startups in Chicago

The new "incubator" will train and mentor women-owned tech startups in Chicago

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Women in Chicago’s tech world will soon have a new opportunity.

1871, an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups, has announced a new facility designed to foster growth and opportunity for women-owned tech startups in Chicago.

The 1871 FEMtech incubator, sponsored by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation and the Motorola Mobility Foundation, will feature 10 to 15 startups at a given time and will engage in programming, mentorship and training specifically designed to maximize their resources, according to a release from 1871.

"Women-owned technology businesses have grown in number and reach in recent years, and we are hopeful to see more of these exciting companies doing great things as a result of our new incubator," Howard A. Tullman, CEO of 1871, said in a statement.

The initiative is part of an international effort by Google for Entrepreneurs to launch 40 female-focused incubators worldwide. Google for Entrepreneurs provided $25,000 in seed money to 1871, which will be combined with additional private donations to fund the program.

The effort is also supported by Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Chicago's tech and digital manufacturing industry continues to create jobs and boost economic growth across the City," Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. "The FEMtech incubator at 1871 will increase opportunities in this dynamic sector for women-owned tech businesses and startups.

In a recent survey, 1871 reported that nearly 30 percent of its member companies had a female on their founding team, nearly six times the national average.

1871 FEMtech is scheduled to open in the fall and expects to “incubate” participating companies for two five-month stretches each year.

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