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Think Chicago: Chicago Ideas Week

Application deadline September 17...... Event date October 19 - 21
Thu, October 19, 2017, 8:00 am to Sat, October 21, 2017, 5:00 pm

ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week 
Opportunity for Students Interested in Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship  

From October 19 – 21, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in partnership with World Business Chicago, the University of Illinois System, and Chicago Ideas, will invite 200 university students from across the country to tour Chicago’s fast-growing tech scene and attend Chicago Ideas Week, an annual seven-day gathering that hosts 150+ globally-recognized speakers at 100+ events across the city.

Attendees of ThinkChicago will engage with entrepreneurs, meet the leaders of some of today's most innovative companies, and receive tickets attend some of Chicago Ideas Week’s most popular talks and events.

Thanks to those who shared information about our ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program. We received more than 800 applications from nearly 100 different institutions across 28 states. We hope you will continue to share this opportunity with your students!

Selected students will have the opportunity to:

  • Tour some of Chicago’s most innovative companies and co-working spaces, and meet with key industry leaders
  • Participate in talks and presentations featuring Chicago technologists and entrepreneurs
  • Attend some of Chicago Ideas Week’s most popular talks and events, plus an onstage group photo

Past participants have been exposed to companies like Avant, Belly, Braintree, ContextMedia, GrubHub, kCura, 37Signals and Groupon, and entrepreneurs like Harper Reed (CEO of Modest, Inc. and CTO of Obama for America 2012), Charles Adler (Kickstarter Co-founder) and Dag Kittlaus (creator of Siri). Attendees have also visited the 1871 incubator space, met Mayor Emanuel and toured Chicago’s world-class cultural sites.

*Participating students will be required to secure their own travel. A limited number of affordable rooms will be made available as needed, but priority will be given to students traveling from outside the Chicago metro area. 

How to Apply

Students are accepted into the program based on their interest in technology, computer science, innovation, entrepreneurship and a demonstrated commitment to excellence. Most students are in their junior or senior years of their undergraduate studies, but students from other years as well as recent graduates (Spring 2017) are also encouraged to apply. The program is free and there is no fee to apply

  • The deadline for student applications is 11:59PM CT on Sunday, September 17, 2017 to be considered.
  • Applications can be completed at

If you have any questions, please let us know. We want to make this as easy as possible for your students to apply, so don’t hesitate to to reach out.

Thank you for sharing this information with your students.


The ThinkChicago Team
City of Chicago
University of Illinois System
World Business Chicago

Connecting diverse talent with opportunities to innovate in Chicago