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Startup Illinois Launches to Accelerate Growth and Inspire Local Entrepreneurs





Chicago (PRESS RELEASE – May 24, 2011) – At least 100 of the state’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs recently celebrated the kick-off of Startup Illinois and the formation of the Illinois Innovation Network, dual efforts to support and accelerate growth of Illinois’ high-growth entrepreneurs.

“Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global marketplace, which is why we must do everything we can to help our businesses develop new and innovative ideas and technologies,” said Governor Quinn. “Given our commitment to fostering innovation and helping businesses grow, it is only fitting that Startup America Partnership chose Illinois as its first Startup region.”

Working with the Startup America Partnership, the private sector alliance celebrating and accelerating entrepreneurs across the country, this state collaboration of mentors, advisors, funders, major corporations, service providers and government organizations is focused on helping entrepreneurs start and scale companies in Illinois in order to foster economic growth and job creation.

“We believe that as a state, Illinois is currently poised to take a leadership position in building and launching the new businesses that will drive the economic future of our country,” said Howard Tullman, Chicago entrepreneur and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. “We look forward to working together to create the best possible entrepreneurial ecosystem to start, grow, and expand new innovative businesses.”

Focused on serving young companies with high growth potential, Startup Illinois will deliver strategic resources to Illinois startups and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to help build the companies that will ultimately lead to job growth and economic prosperity. Led by the Illinois Innovation Council, an initiative of Governor Pat Quinn, the organization will apply the best practices of the Startup America Partnership to make beneficial and substantive changes to the way the state approaches entrepreneurship and startups.

Illinois has a strong community of innovators and entrepreneurs. The Illinois Innovation Network is an important strategic priority for our agency and the state in support of promoting and driving economic growth. We’re thrilled to see the broad engagement of local and national business and community leaders to align public and private resources to this effort,” said Warren Ribley, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Startup Illinois has already started assembling commitments from a wide range of Illinois-based companies and organizations to provide assistance to entrepreneurs in the following areas:

  • Expertise: Connect entrepreneurs with training, mentors, advisors and accelerators
  • Services: Provide entrepreneurs access to critical services at reduced costs
  • Talent: Assist entrepreneurs in recruiting and training the people that can help them grow
  • Customers: Help to scale startups through new and existing markets
  • Capital: Highlight sources of capital available to entrepreneurs in various regions and sectors

“Illinois has already built an incredibly promising ecosystem for entrepreneurs, due to the great work of organizations like the Illinois Innovation Council and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. “We’re thrilled to work with Startup Illinois as the first local organization to utilize our resources and reach. Ultimately, entrepreneurs in Illinois will have access to not only a national platform through the Partnership, but exposure to the best practices of successful startup regions from across the country.”

About the Startup America Partnership

The Startup America Partnership is a movement – by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs – to help inspire and celebrate entrepreneurs, their firms and the people that join them. Launched at the White House in response to President Obama’s call to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation, the Partnership is bringing together an alliance of major corporations, funders, service providers, mentors and advisors working to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth enterprises in the U.S. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are founding partners, providing initial funding and strategic guidance. For more information on the Partnership, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org and follow at www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.

About the Illinois Innovation Network

The Illinois Innovation Network is a new, common platform through which startups, innovation-driven enterprises, service providers, research institutions, colleges, universities and community leaders connect, share ideas, and market tools and resources to accelerate the growth of businesses and industries in the Midwest. The IIN is the first initiative of the Governor’s Innovation Council, chaired by Groupon Co-Founder Brad Keywell with a membership of proven entrepreneurs across a variety of critical sectors, along with science, technology and university leaders.

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