What Winners Receive

  • Recognition at the Harris Theater

    The 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 in October, 2014.

  • Meeting with Mayor Emanuel

    Mayor 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 Quinn

    The winners will be invited to meet with Governor Pat Quinn for the opportunity to present their innovation to state leaders and discuss ways to advance innovation in Illinois.

  • Ringing the NASDAQ Bell

    The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City to gain recognition on a global stage.

  • Business and Innovation Training from Disney Institute

    The 10 Chicago Innovation Award winners will be invited to a 3.5 day business and innovation training program in Orlando, Florida provided by Disney Institute, including hotel accommodations for the winner’s family.

  • Featured in Crain’s Chicago Business

    Each winner will be profiled in a special innovation section of Crain’s Chicago that runs the week after the Chicago Innovation Awards ceremony.

  • Featured in a CTA Advertising Campaign

    Each winner will be featured in a CTA advertising campaign in 2014-2015.

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 innovation. Over 30,000 votes were received in 2013.

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.

This event will celebrate all nominees of the 2014 Chicago Innovation Awards and provides a great opportunity to connect and network with other innovators and resource providers.


"Winning the Chicago Innovation Award has helped to provide different resources and different connections, networking opportunities that we wouldn’t have in the past." Mark Bozik, Vice President of Rescue Vac Systems, Inc., 2009 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
"It had such a profound impact for a nonprofit organization to be recognized by the Chicago Innovation Awards. It’s been fabulously helpful in spreading awareness in the city of Chicago, amongst peers, and to the rest of the nation." Kim Duchossois, President of The Duchossois Family Foundation; key contributor to the American Cancer Society, 2004 Winner
"Winning a Chicago Innovation Award provided a tremendous morale boost internally and gave recognition to the folks who had worked so hard to build the auction… Up to that point, we had nice articles and accolades in IP industry rags, but nothing more main stream: it was great to receive the external recognition as well." Jim Malakowski, Chairman & CEO, Ocean Tomo, 2006 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
"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
"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
"When looking to expand the Wow! Oven into China, I went to the head of R+D for Yum Brands, who has about 70% of their worldwide profits in China. He instantly told me that he knew the product; he had seen it from the Chicago Innovation Awards, and we were in." Mark Sieron, President, Middleby Marshall, 2004 Winner