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 on October 27th, 2015.

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 Rauner

The 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 Preckwinkle

President 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 Bell

The 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 on September 28th ($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 30,000 votes were received in 2014.

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 9th, 2015.

This event will celebrate all nominees of the 2015 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.


"It was a big deal winning the award… I think it made people here think about what we were doing differently. We weren’t really thinking about the whole innovation aspect of it." Janet Attarian, Project Director for the Streetscape and Sustainable Design Program and Sustainability Coordinator for the Chicago Department of Transportation, 2007 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Everything good that has ever happened to us is because of winning a Chicago Innovation Award." Andrew Mason, Founder & CEO, Groupon, 2009 Winner
"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