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Mayor Lightfoot joins World Business Chicago, University of Illinois System, and City Colleges of Chicago to announce ThinkChicago Lollapalooza 2022 
July 27, 2022

Mayor Lightfoot joins World Business Chicago, University of Illinois System, and City Colleges of Chicago to announce ThinkChicago Lollapalooza 2022 

ThinkChicago is World Business Chicago’s flagship STEM talent attraction and retention program, which connects diverse, top-tier talent with innovative Chicago companies and startups to grow the city’s thriving technology, innovation, & startup ecosystem.

(CHICAGO) – July 27th, 2022 — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announces the return of ThinkChicago Lollapalooza, July 28-31, 2022 in Grant Park. The three-day program features various founders and innovators of Chicago’s technology, innovation, and startup ecosystem.This is the first-time the summer STEM attraction and retention event is being held in person since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with  Lollapalooza, one of the world’s premier music festivals, the three-day event will introduce the city’s fast-growing innovation economy to 300 top-tier, STEM-focused students. 

This year’s ThinkChicago Lollapalooza experience features:

  • A civic tech challenge 
  • Distribution of the official ThinkChicago Resume Book of all 300 ThinkChicago participants to 60+ companies and startups for their hiring needs
  • Company showcase with representatives from local companies & startups who are currently hiring
  • Access to this year’s Lollapalooza festival, including a behind-the-scenes tour
  • A visit to 1871, the world’s #1 private business incubator and home to 400+ startups in the Merchandise Mart
  • Visits to several leading innovative Chicago companies and startup hubs, including (but not limited to):
    • Portal Innovations
    • Loadsmart
    • Fast Radius
    • Tegus
    • Vividseats

“Chicago is home to some of the best STEM talent in the world,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “ThinkChicago Lollapalooza will help us make this pool of talent even larger by encouraging fast-growing companies and startups to connect with skilled students right here in our city and region. These students, who come from all walks of life and represent the diversity of our great city, are more than ready to learn and break into the STEM field.”

“Chicago’s network of world-class universities, startup incubators & accelerators and vibrant startup ecosystem, has positioned the city as a global destination for founders, innovators, and talent,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO of World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago. “Our ThinkChicago program is one of our core strategies to drive inclusive growth and opportunity for our entire city.”

“Chicago is a tier 1 tech and innovation hub because of incredible talent based right here in our city,” said Mark Tebbe, Chair of World Business Chicago’s Innovation & Venture Council. “And ThinkChicago is the best platform for companies and startups to attract the world’s best STEM talent.” 

ThinkChicago is organized by World Business Chicago, with anchor partners the University of Illinois System, City Colleges of Chicago, and the City of Chicago. The program includes several flagship and university partner events for students at the community college, undergraduate, graduate, and PhD levels. 

“For over 150 years, the University of Illinois System has developed and trained some of the finest innovators and entrepreneurs in the world,” said Tim Killeen, president of the U of I System. “And through our partnership with World Business Chicago, we’re excited to continue providing our students with an immersive experience and to show them why Chicago and Illinois are thriving as a tier-1 tech and innovation hub.”

Selected ThinkChicago participants represent more than 30 universities and colleges across 17 different states, majority from Chicago and the Midwest region. As with previous ThinkChicago flagship events, this year’s cohort is majority students of color and majority female. 

“City Colleges of Chicago proudly supports students from every zip code in the City of Chicago,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago. “Our students are talented and this opportunity showcases that excellence. Through our work with World Business Chicago, we’re excited for our largest City Colleges student cohort ever to participate in a ThinkChicago flagship event.

ThinkChicago depends on the support of partners to run  a year-round program: ThinkChicago Homecoming for the fall semester; ThinkChicago Advanced Degree Exchange, exclusive for grad students and PhD talent; and ThinkChicago Launchpad which is exclusive for City College of Chicago students. The ThinkChicago program wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of presenting sponsor CoinFlip, and sponsors Milwaukee Tool, Nature’s Fynd, and tastytrade.

“With our headquarters here in Chicago and as the city’s fastest growing company, World Business Chicago’s ThinkChicago program is an important part of our talent attraction strategy,” said Daniel Polotsky, Founder and Chair of CoinFlip, a leading fintech company powered by cryptocurrency. “As a presenting sponsor for ThinkChicago, we have the incredible opportunity to connect with these bright students who will undoubtedly contribute to shaping the future.” 

“Chicago is one of the most vibrant cities in the country, which is why we chose it as the home for Lollapalooza almost two decades ago.  The cultural diversity of Chicago provides an ideal setting for the annual world-class event that draws music fans from around the globe,” said Charlie Walker, Partner at C3 Presents and promoter of Lollapalooza. “We look forward to giving ThinkChicago students a behind-the-curtain look at how innovation, technology and Chicago itself have influenced the evolution of one of the most iconic events in pop culture history.”



World Business Chicago serves a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable recovery throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods, focused on high growth sectors: transportation, distribution, & logistics; manufacturing; healthcare & life sciences, and our local innovation, startup, & venture ecosystem. As the City of Chicago’s economic development agency, World Business Chicago leads corporate attraction & retention, workforce & talent, community impact, and promotion of Chicago as a leading global city. Supported by a council of 300+ local leaders, World Business Chicago’s portfolio of innovation & venture programs include: the Chicago Venture Summit series, Startup Chicago, ThinkChicago, and Venture Engine with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). Follow World Business Chicago on LinkedIn & Twitter for daily news and announcements on company relocation and expansion; industry and ecosystem growth, U.S. and world rankings, and more about Chicago’s economic progress.