September 2, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Applications Are Now Open For ThinkChicago:Chicago Ideas Week 2014

Program Will Bring 150 of the Midwest’s Top Technology and Engineering Students to Chicago; 450 Students Have Participated Since 2011

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week 2014 is now accepting applications. ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week is the fourth annual installment of the successful program launched by Mayor Emanuel, the University of Illinois, Chicago Ideas Week, World Business Chicago and 1871 to welcome 150 elite engineering and computer science students from Midwestern universities to Chicago with the opportunity to learn about the City’s fast-growing tech scene, meet Chicago innovators, technologists and business leaders, tour companies and attend Chicago Ideas Week programs.

“ThinkChicago has attracted many of the nation’s brightest young technology minds to Chicago and introduced them to the businesses and quality of life that are at the forefront of our growing technology and innovation economy,” Mayor Emanuel said. “I look forward to welcoming the next group of students to Chicago in October.”

ThinkChicago is seeking up to 150 students with an exceptional academic track record who have demonstrated a commitment to innovation and technology. It is preferred that applicants be a junior, senior, or graduate student at an academic institution in one of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Students can apply by visiting Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 14.

The program will take place October 16-18, 2014. Since launching in 2011, the program has grown from 50 students across 13 Midwest universities to 150 students. Over the four years of the program, 450 students have participated, and when combined with its sister program ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, a total 675 of the country’s top technology and engineering student will have attended.

“ThinkChicago was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my college career, and I certainly wouldn't be where I am today if I had not participated in this fantastic program,” said Matt Unger, Found and President of Roompact. “ThinkChicago kickstarted my career in Chicago's technology industry and it opened the door to several important relationships as I relocated to Chicago from Milwaukee after college.”

“We’re proud to partner with the City of Chicago, the University of Illinois, World Business Chicago, and 1871 to bring the most talented students in the Midwest to Chicago for Chicago Ideas Week this October,” said Jessica Malkin, Executive Director of Chicago Ideas Week. “By showcasing Chicago as a hub of technology, ideas and innovation, ThinkChicago draws graduates to our vibrant city to kick off their careers and build new ventures."

Past attendees of ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week and Lollapalooza have heard from leaders across the tech, business, and civic worlds including from Mayor Emanuel, Harper Reed (Obama for America 2012 CTO), Brian Fitzpatrick (Google Engineering Manager), Matt Maloney (GrubHub CEO), Zach Kaplan ( CEO) and Adrian Holovaty (Django Web Framework Creator). In addition, students have toured and and met with many of Chicago’s leading tech companies, including Belly, Braintree, Brighttag, Built In Chicago, Catamaran, Centro, Civis Analytics, Cleversafe, Gogo, Google, Groupon, GrubHub, IBM, Nokia: HERE, HireBrite, kCura, Morningstar, Microsoft, Motorola, Narrative Science, Nielsen, Orbitz, Power2Switch, Sears, Spot Hero, Sprout Social, Threadless and Vibes.

“The University of Illinois is pleased to partner with Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, Chicago Ideas Week, and 1871 to facilitate ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week to showcase Chicago’s growing tech industry and the career opportunities that are available to our students and young alumni,” said University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter. “Retaining our students in Illinois upon graduation is a key priority for the University and will help drive economic growth across the state.”
“Attracting talent to Chicago related to science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship is an important objective of ChicagoNEXT, the council dedicated to driving growth in these industries, and part of our Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs,” said World Business Chicago (WBC) President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “WBC implements the Plan’s strategies, with initiatives that include connecting the next generation of top tech talent with Chicago’s innovators, to advance Chicago’s position in the global economy.”
This past August, Mayor Emanuel held the second installment of ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, which brought 125 students from across the country to Chicago for three days of programming and to attend the Lollapalooza music festival. Applications were received from 36 universities, spanning 34 states and 12 countries, including candidates across all of the US News & World Report top undergraduate and graduate engineering schools.

"By highlighting Chicago’s expansive technology ecosystem, the overall quality of life here, and the extensive new career opportunities which the growth of our tech economy provides, ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week – just like 1871’s Chicago College Startup Competition - supports our crucial efforts to attract and retain the nation’s top young talent,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “For Chicago to remain a leading location for high-tech innovation, it is critical that recent college graduates continue to choose Chicago as the place where they build their professional and personal lives.”

For one week each October, Chicago Ideas Week brings together some of the world's most outstanding speakers to present their ideas and inspire the innovations of tomorrow at more than 80 sessions across the city of Chicago. Chicago Ideas Week is an asset that belongs uniquely to Chicago, and reflects our great city in its inclusiveness, diversity and excellence of intellectual discourse. It is a platform that continues to be shaped by the people, organizations and institutions that care about the future of Chicago as well as communities around the globe. For more information on Chicago Ideas Week visit


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