Annual Program Will Host 200 of the Midwest’s Top Technology and Engineering Students in Chicago, Expanding Number of Student Participants by 50

thinkchicagoiw2015-headerMayor Rahm Emanuel today announced ThinkChicago is now accepting applications for its sixth annual installment of ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week. Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, University of Illinois System and Chicago Ideas Week will welcome 200 elite students from Midwestern universities to Chicago. The students will learn about Chicago’s fast-growing tech scene, meet Chicago innovators, technologists and business leaders, and attend Chicago Ideas Week.

“ThinkChicago has become a mainstay in Chicago, bringing together a diverse group of student leaders to explore our great city’s technology ecosystem,” Mayor Emanuel said. “These students are among the best and brightest looking to work at a Chicago-based company or start a company of their own, further affirming Chicago’s role as a world-class hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

ThinkChicago is seeking students with an exceptional academic track record who have demonstrated a commitment to innovation and technology. Preferred applicants should be a junior, senior or graduate student at an academic institution in one of the following states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin or Minnesota. Candidates should also be considering Chicago for potential employment or to start a new tech endeavor upon graduation. Candidates with work, internship, leadership and entrepreneurial experience are highly encouraged to apply by visiting Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm on Sunday, September 18, 2016.

ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week will take place October 20-22, 2016 and bring 200 students, a considerable increase since its launch in 2011 when fifty students from thirteen Midwest universities participated. Over the past five years, 600 students have participated in ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week. When combined with its sister program, ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, which launched in 2013, 1,150 students have explored Chicago’s technology ecosystem.

“ThinkChicago invites the country’s most talented college students to experience Chicago’s thriving tech scene first-hand,” Brad Keywell, Chicago Ideas Week Founder and Co-Chairman said. “Through our partnership with the City of Chicago, the University of Illinois and World Business Chicago, we are able to engage these students in Chicago Ideas Week programming with the ultimate end goal of inspiring them to pursue careers in technology, entrepreneurship and more right here in Chicago.”

“ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week is how we connect top talent in the Midwest with innovative businesses in Chicago,” said Jeff Malehorn, President and CEO at World Business Chicago. “Students experience what makes Chicago’s technology ecosystem unique while businesses have an exclusive opportunity to expand their talent pool.”

Past attendees of the Chicago Ideas Week and Lollapalooza programs have heard from tech, business and civic leaders – including Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Deputy Mayor Steve Koch; Harper Reed, 2012 CTO of Obama for America 2012; Dag Kittlaus, Co-founder of Siri; Matt Maloney, CEO of GrubHub; Joe Born, CEO of Aiwa; Charles Adler, Co-founder of Kickstarter; Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables; Adrian Holovaty, Creator of Django web framework; Caralynn Nowinski Collens, CEO of UI LABS and Jimmy Odom, Senior Policy Adviser to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Founder of WeDeliver.

Student participants also met with many of Chicago’s leading tech companies, including Avant, Belly, Braintree, Civis Analytics, Cleversafe, CME Group, ContextMedia, Discover, Google, Groupon, GrubHub, HERE (formerly Nokia), Ideo, Jellyvision, kCura, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Morningstar, Motorola Mobility, Narrative Science, Orbitz, Raise, Rise Interactive, Signal, Spot Hero, Sprout Social, Threadless and Uptake.

“Since it was conceived five years ago, the ThinkChicago program has become an important economic engine for the city, our state and beyond,” said University of Illinois President Tim Killeen. “The University of Illinois System is proud to team with Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago and Chicago Ideas Week to support Chicago’s tech community and ensure that our students – and students from across the country and the world – know about the incredible opportunities available in Chicago.”

Last month, Mayor Emanuel held the fourth installment of ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, which brought 200 students from across the country to Chicago for three days of programming and the Lollapalooza music festival. The program hosted a Civic Tech Challenge, a pitch competition among student participants to propose ways in which the City of Chicago can use technology to encourage civic engagement among its constituents. The winning proposal encouraged Lollapalooza attendees to patronize small businesses, visit cultural institutions and explore Chicago’s neighborhoods. The winning team received Lollapalooza 2017 passes, a Lollapalooza-branded skateboard and automatic acceptance to this year’s ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week program.

Chicago Ideas Week is a seven-day ideas festival that features 150 programs and attracts 30,000 attendees. Chicago Ideas Week’s Our dynamic events include stage programs featuring globally recognized speakers, and Labs that offer hands-on experiences. Chicago Ideas Week’s Our mission is to provide programming that is open to the public at a nominal cost to engage a diverse audience. As the world’s most accessible ideas festival, Chicago Ideas Week aims to inspire action through entertaining events, though-provoking content and grassroots initiatives.

ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week is organized by the Mayor’s Office, World Business Chicago, University of Illinois System and Chicago Ideas Week. 2016 ThinkChicago programming is supported by Civis Analytics, Enova, Horizon Pharma, IBM, kCura, Microsoft and Northern Trust. For more information, visit and .


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