Chicago Competition Searches for Nation's Best Collegiate Startups

The Chicago College Startup Competition will offer 10 entrepreneurs full-time desks at 1871's Merchandis Mart space

College entrepreneurs may want to think about coming to Chicago.

ThinkChicago, 1871 and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new competition Tuesday, geared toward attracting the leading collegiate business startups from around the country to Chicago.

The Chicago College Startup Competition will offer up to 10 entrepreneurs, who started their business in college and wish to continue after graduation, full-time desks at 1871’s networking and business incubation space in the Merchandise Mart.

The winners of the competition will receive a year of desk space, mentorship services and amenities provided for startups at the 1871 facility.

"1871 is all about attracting the best new businesses and helping them succeed," Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, said in a statement. "Collegiate businesses are in a unique position to be successful, and we believe that the resources that are available at 1871 will greatly help these young startups on their path. I'm excited about the potential for integration with the ongoing efforts of the city as part of this effort."

ThinkChicago and 1871 will work with leading entrepreneurial business plan competitions at colleges across the country to identify potential winners and businesses can also apply directly to be considered for the program. A panel of current businesses located at 1871 and members of ThinkChicago will evaluate the entries.

"This is exactly what ThinkChicago is about," Emanuel said in a statement. "The City of Chicago remains focused on attracting the best and brightest tech entrepreneurs to Chicago. This opportunity will help future college graduates succeed while integrating their businesses directly with Chicago's thriving tech community."

Interested applicants can visit or contact for more information. Competition winners will be publicly announced at ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza during the first week in August.

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