What Winners Receive
||Recognition at the Harris TheaterThe Chicago Innovation Award winners, the Up-and-Comer Award winners, and the People’s Choice Award winner are honored on-stage in front of 1500 people at the Harris Theater on October 25th, 2016.
||Meeting with Mayor EmanuelMayor Rahm Emanuel invites the winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards to City Hall to discuss how Chicago can accelerate the efforts of our hometown innovators.
||Meeting with Governor RaunerThe winners will be invited to meet with Governor Rauner for the opportunity to present their innovation to state leaders and discuss ways to advance innovation in Illinois.
||Meeting with Cook County President Toni PreckwinklePresident Preckwinkle opens up her office to discuss innovation with all the winners, and how to make connections between their new products and services and the needs of the county.
||Ringing the NASDAQ BellThe winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City to gain recognition on a global stage.
Top 100 Finalists Receive:
||The top 100 finalists will each be awarded a scholarship to “The Practical Innovator” at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management ($2,500 value). This day-long education course teaches the practical skills of innovation at its internationally known executive education facility. These top 100 finalists are also profiled on our website during the People’s Choice Award voting, in which thousands of Chicagoans will view their innovation and vote for their favorite. Over 40,000 votes were received in 2015.
All Nominees Receive:
All of those who work toward building the innovation community in the Chicago region should be recognized. For this reason, we invite all nominees of the Chicago Innovation Awards to the Nominee Reception at Park West on September 7th, 2016.
This event will celebrate all nominees of the 2016 Chicago Innovation Awards and provide a great opportunity to connect and network with other innovators and resource providers.
All nominees will also be automatically considered for the Innovators Connection, which matches our region’s most innovative companies with the needs of large corporations.
WHAT PAST WINNERS SAY:
"What an incredible opportunity and such an affirmation of innovation and the great work that you do to put a spotlight on it in spades. The best part for us was for Cara to be included in a club of entrepreneurs, of people whose success was founded on the principle that an idea – if believed in, if breathed into – could create something of magic. I am super grateful to you and the Chicago Innovation Awards for the opportunity."
Maria Kim, President & CEO, The Cara Program, 2015 winner
"The company at that point was really trying to focus on marketing communications, and it’s hard to measure, but certainly it was validation of our technology. We had our first deployment of the new nWeb technology, which was US Cellular in Chicago… It definitely parlayed that into not only the validation of our technology, but also for the region."
Randy Cavaiani, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing for Novarra Inc., 2005 Winner
"It gave us validation in the marketplace, validation to clients, to the money community for VCs, for private equity, and angels; you get a stamp of approval, and it allows others to talk about us being something real going on here."
Bob Gillespie, Co-Founder and CEO of InContext Solutions, 2010 Winner
"A lot of people in the design community recognize the outside validation of winning a CIA, something we talk about with retail customers, perspective employees."
Tom Schlegel, Sr. VP of Product Development, Radio Flyer, 2007 Winner
"I accepted the Chicago Innovation Award on behalf of everyone who came before me, but I know the employees love it when stuff like that happens, and it gives investors more confidence, as they write those checks totaling over a half billion dollars over the years."
Michael Small, President and CEO of Gogo, 2009 Winner
"Investors like to see markets that have comeptitors, and if you’re the first to a market, you don’t have this. Winning the Chicago Innovation Award provided validation to our investors that, although we were brand new to a market, there was a need and opportunity here."
Paul Everton, CEO, Visible Vote, 2009 Winner
"The visibility from the Innovation Award has a big impact on general awareness of our organization, especially from organizations of the Chicago area."
Alex Bratton, Founder and CEO of Lextech Labs, 2010 Winner
"Everything good that has ever happened to us is because of winning a Chicago Innovation Award."
Andrew Mason, Founder & CEO, Groupon, 2009 Winner