Annual Program Will Host 200 of the Nation’s Top Technology and Engineering Students in Chicago; Program to Expand Number of Student Participants by an Additional 75

ThinkChicago2015-Header1Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is now accepting applications for participation in the fourth annual installment of the successful program. Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, University of Illinois, and Lollapalooza will welcome 200 elite technology and engineering students from the nation’s top universities to Chicago for an opportunity to learn about Chicago’s fast-growing tech scene, meet Chicago innovators, technologists, and business leaders, visit business headquarters and innovation hubs, attend Lollapalooza, and participate in a civic tech challenge. Due to overwhelming interest, the 2016 ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program will expand the number of student participants by an additional 75, from 125 to 200 total.

“Chicago’s economy is strongest when all parts of the economy, including the technology sector, attract new talent, foster innovation, and experience long-term growth,” Mayor Emanuel said. “ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza will strengthen the city’s emerging technology industry by attracting 200 of the best and brightest students from universities all across the country to an in-depth showcase of Chicago’s vibrant technology and cultural scenes.”

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is seeking students with an exceptional academic track record who are enthusiastic about technology, innovation, and/or entrepreneurship with a demonstrated commitment to achievement and excellence in their field. Candidates should be considering Chicago for potential employment, including tech jobs at large corporations, roles within growth stage tech companies or as an entrepreneur starting a new tech endeavor. Candidates that are juniors, seniors, or graduate students with relevant work, internship, leadership, and entrepreneurial experience are especially encouraged to apply. Students can apply by visiting Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

“ThinkChicago is a demonstration of how supportive Chicago’s tech leaders are of the community,” said Jeff Malehorn, President & CEO of World Business Chicago. “With an average of 273 digital startups launched every year, the city’s tech scene is growing exponentially and grads should be confident that they can grow dynamic careers here.”

The program will take place July 27 – July 29, 2016 and will bring the total number of students who have participated in the ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program to 550, and a total of 1,150 students when combined with its sister program, ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week, which takes place in the fall. Last year, ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza received 900 applications from 99 universities across 30 states. This summer’s program will be the ninth overall installment of the successful ThinkChicago program established by Mayor Emanuel in 2011 and the fourth annual program held during Lollapalooza.

“Talent programs, such as ThinkChicago, are critical to ensure that our best and brightest students are educated about all of the incredible opportunities in Chicago’s growing technology sector. We look forward to continuing to partner with Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, and Lollapalooza to grow the ThinkChicago program and build on the University of Illinois’ mission of attracting and retaining top talent right here in Illinois,” said University of Illinois President Timothy L. Killeen.

As part of this year’s program, attendees will take part in a civic tech challenge, wherein small teams of student participants will pitch technology-oriented solutions to a number of civic-oriented problems. Winners of past competitions have designed a digital application to visualize progress on graffiti abatement efforts and created new leaderboard-based incentives to improve recycling at large-scale events such as Lollapalooza. Members of the winning team in this year’s competition will receive automatic acceptance to the 2016 ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week program this fall.

World Business Chicago and ThinkChicago have been engaged in an ongoing partnership with LinkedIn to help the city of Chicago maximize talent attraction and retention. The research project has helped to uncover talent migration and skill supply/demand trends in LinkedIn’s data, helping to guide the focus of ThinkChicago. These data include the most in-demand technology skills, the top industries hiring technology workers, universities with the most alumni in Chicago, and where recent graduates migrate to and from.

Past attendees of the Lollapalooza and Chicago Ideas Week programs have heard from leaders across the tech, business, and civic worlds – including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Harper Reed (Obama for America 2012 CTO), Dag Kittlaus (Siri Founder), Matt Maloney (GrubHub CEO), Joe Born (Aiwa CEO), Charles Adler (Kickstarter Co-founder), Zach Kaplan (Inventables CEO), Adrian Holovaty (Django Web Framework Creator), Caralynn Nowinski Collens (UI LABS CEO), Jimmy Odom (Senior Policy Adviser to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and WeDeliver Founder) and met with many of Chicago’s leading tech companies, including Aiwa, Avant, Belly, Braintree, Built In Chicago, Civis Analytics, Cleversafe, CME Group, ContextMedia, Discover, Google, Groupon, GrubHub, HERE (formerly Nokia), Ideo, Jellyvision, kCura, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Morningstar, Motorola Mobility, Narrative Science, Orbitz, Signal, Spot Hero, Sprout Social, Threadless, and Uptake, among many others.

Past attendees have also had the opportunity to tour tech incubator spaces, such as 1871, Catalyze, MATTER, and TechNexus, which are focused on cultivating Chicago’s growing community of tech entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

“We are honored to partner with ThinkChicago for the fourth year in a row and look forward to hosting 200 of the nation’s top student innovators at Grant Park this July,” said Charlie Jones, partner at C3 Presents, the promoter behind Lollapalooza.

In 2015, Lollapalooza hosted 300,000 attendees over three days – with more than 130 artists performing on eight stages – and provided over $155 million in local economic impact. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Lollapalooza has expanded to four days in 2016, featuring more than 170 artists performing on eight stages. For more information visit

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