How can I be invited to attend a Chicago Innovation Awards event?

Events are by invitation only. You can sign up on our mailing list to receive invitations here:

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When can I submit a nomination and when is the deadline?

  • Nominations will open on May 1st, 2017, and close on August 3rd, 2017. The form will be live on our website during this time.

What qualifies me as eligible to nominate my product or service?

To be eligible for a Chicago Innovation Award, the product, service, or company nominated must be:

  • Introduced within the past 3 years.
  • Headquartered in the greater Chicago region, including the northern half of Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana.

Can I nominate my own company?

  • Absolutely! A majority of our nominations come from a company nominating their own product or service.

Is there a fee to nominate?

  • No. There is no fee associated with submitting a nomination or winning an award.

If I nominate, will I be able to attend the Nominee Reception?

  • Yes, all nominees are invited to attend the Nominee Reception in September 2017 at Park West.

If I submit a nomination, and then later have an important update about my product/service, is it too late to submit this information?

How do I know if I am a finalist or a winner?

  • We will contact you directly to let you know if you are a finalist or a winner.

Nomination Criteria

What criteria does the judging committee look at when evaluating nominees?

The judging committee looks at the following criteria:

  • Did the product/service meet an unmet need?
  • How unique is the product/service? Is this the first of its kind? If not, how is it different or better than existing products/services?
  • What new value has been created for the end user?
  • What financial evidence or market acceptance information does the product/service have to support it? What is its quantifiable evidence of success?

Nomination Timeline

What is the timing of the nomination, judging and event process?

The Chicago Innovation Awards process operates as follows:

May 1st to August 3rd, 2017: Nominations are open and can be submitted through our website.
August and September: Judges convene to review nominations. During this time, you may or may not be contacted to provide more detailed information on your nomination.
Early September: All nominees are invited to attend the Nominee Reception at Park West in September 2017.
Late September: Judges determine and announce the top 100 nominees. The top 100 nominees are invited to “The Practical Innovator” at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
October: People’s Choice Award voting begins online for the top 100 nominees. The nominee with the most votes will be the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Over 46,000 votes were received for the 2016 People’s Choice Award.
Late October: Winners are announced at the Chicago Innovation Awards Ceremony at the Harris Theater. If your nomination is selected as a winner, you will be contacted a few weeks prior the awards ceremony.


What is the People’s Choice Award?

2017 will mark another year of the Chicago Innovation Awards “People’s Choice Award”. After the judges have selected the 100 most innovative nominations, they will be posted to our site for public voting. In 2016, over 46,000 votes were received from the public.

Are nominees involved in the Innovators Connection?

Yes! All nominees will be considered for the Innovators Connection, which matches our region’s most innovative companies with the needs of large corporations.