$20M Innovation Fund, Gov’s $1M Investment Highlight Chicago Innovation Exchange Grand Opening

October 22, 2014

With Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Mark Kirk, and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer in attendance, the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), a new startup incubator in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, had its grand opening last Thursday. The CIE is comprised of 32,000 square feet divided among three buildings across the city’s South Side: the central hub, with incubation and event space, the “CIE Skydeck” an 11th floor conference space, and a third location, set to open in 2015, with fabrication and prototyping lab space and equipment such as 3-D printers, mini-mills, and laser cutters. At the event, Gov. Quinn announced that the state would invest $1 million into the new center to support infrastructure and build-out of the space.  

Funded by the University of Chicago, the CIE brings the success of the University’s Booth School of Business’ Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation across the campus, not just the business school, better connecting its resources to the entire innovation landscape, according to John Flavin, CIE’s director and a speaker at the 2014 SSTI Annual Conference. The CIE also features a $20 million Innovation Fund, which grants and invests in promising technology startups created by University of Chicago faculty, students, and South Side entrepreneurs, providing from $50,000 to $200,000 to qualified companies. To encourage student usage of the center, a new daily shuttle route was created to go to and from campus and students are offered free membership to the center to attend workshops and events, access working space, and utilize mentors.

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Illinoisincubators, higher ed