Four Local Startups Honored by White House

Maybe President Obama's still feeling a little homesick after his recent birthday bash, but let's assume that wasn't the key motivator behind the White House recognizing four Chicago startups on Thursday as the top revenue-earners from companies that are run by young entrepreneurs.

ColorJar, City of Sass, Syndio Social, and GiveForward (who Inc. Well has interviewed on two separate occasions this year) were the four local contenders who made the Empact100 List, curated by Startup America, the Kauffman Foundation, and Empact.

Cumulatively, all the companies on the list have created 2,500 jobs and generated $374 million in revenue.

When asked about the nod from the White House, GiveForward COO and co-founder Ethan Austin said, via email, he was thrilled for the Chicago love.

"From a symbolic standpoint, we're very flattered to be recognized as one of the Empact 100 companies," Austin wrote."There were three or four Chicago companies on the list and I think it's a testament to how far the Chicago startup ecosystem has grown in the past three years. It's a big win for Chicago.

From a realistic standpoint, it obviously doesn't change a whole lot of things for our business. We just need to keep plugging away and stay focused on building a product that that brings joy to our users."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is equally thrilled. He released a statement about the honor.

"Ethan Austin and Desiree Vargas-Wrigley of GiveForward; David Gardner of ColorJar; Zachary Johnson and Michael Kaye of Syndio Social; and Jake Sasseville of City of Sass could have taken their talents, ideas, and inspiration anywhere in the country or the world.  They chose to found their companies here in Chicago – the capital of the Midwest – because of our unmatched assets, resources, and opportunity. 

As Mayor I am committed to making Chicago the most economically competitive city in the world and am confident that the ideas, energy, and jobs that these young companies are fostering here in Chicago will ensure that our city continues to grow, expand, and thrive."

How's that for the famous Midwestern work ethic and humility?

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