Chicago Tech Hub Starts Female Entrepreneur Program

Date: June 03, 2015

New Initiative To Focus On Female-Owned Startups, Small Businesses

Chicago’s growing tech scene is looking to embrace female-owned startups and small businesses with a new 1919 Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship Initiative. The program, sponsored by Pilsen-based tech hub Blue1647, “aims to train women to progress their businesses and to become more employable,” according to Blue1647 CEO Emile Cambry, the Chicago Tribune reported. The initiative kicked off last week with a free workshop and networking event on Wednesday. Other components will include workshops, training, and mentoring to provide business advice for women small business owners. The initiative will be run by a “10-woman leadership team.”

The Tribune noted there are other initiatives in the Chicago area aiming to connectt women in the tech industry. Chicago tech hub 1871 is planning an incubator called “WISTEM” designed for science, technology, engineering, and math. The networking and education group Ms. Tech currently operating in Chicago “draws hundreds of members.” Blue1647’s initiative is designed to be different “due to its focus on workforce development, plus its emphasis on diversity,” according to Cambry, particularly due to its proximity to Chicago’s south and west side business communities. Cambry explained, “For a segregated city, there are some dividing lines, but it’s really just that access and opportunity. There’s a lot of people that are very smart in other areas that aren’t necessarily technically challenged areas of Chicago that feel too intimidated going to certain places to try to get started.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Networking and education are key for helping inspire entrepreneurs. Women with startups and small businesses in Chicago’s tech sector will hopefully have a more business-friendly environment thanks to initiatives like the new program at Blue1647. However, Chicago still has a ways to go in other areas before small businesses feel entirely welcome in the Second City.

Additional Reading

NFIB previously covered the Blue1647 tech incubator.

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