Chicago entrepreneurs will now have a little more space to work in the city.
Gov. Pat Quinn, 1871 CEO Howard Tullman and members of the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center board of directors announced Tuesday that 1871 will be expanding in the Merchandise Mart.
The $2.5 million expansion will grow 1871’s size by 50 percent, adding 25,000 square feet to the business hub.
“In just two short years, 1871, its member companies and alumni have created more than 1,000 jobs,” Quinn said in a statement. “1871 has become a true entrepreneurial hub for our state and its expansion means more career opportunities for the hardworking residents of Illinois. We look forward to a strong partnership with 1871 as we continue to grow our start-up community and support our innovators.”
The project will allow 1871 to house larger companies and to “create, grow or expand incubators and accelerators in the critical areas of food technology, real estate technology, education technology, financial technology, startup engineering and women-owned technology businesses,” according to a release.
It will also house venture capital firms looking to invest in local companies.
"This expansion is important to 1871's commitment to continue raising the bar and providing the most extensive facilities and resources for our member companies," 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman said.
The $2.5 million investment will be provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“This expansion shows that our investment in the next generation of Chicago businesses is paying off,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “The jobs of tomorrow will come from the types of small businesses growing at 1871 today, and this expansion will allow even more entrepreneurs and businesses to locate here, bringing new jobs with them and supporting the city’s economic growth.”
1871 was launched by J.B. Pritzker and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center in partnership with the state in 2012.
The expansion is expected to be completed in mid-October.