The CEC to Honor Glenn Tilton, Michael Ferro, and Three Growth Companies at the 2012 Momentum Awards Dinner

CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The CEC, the non-profit organization committed to supporting, promoting and growing the startup community in Chicago, today announced the three finalists for its prestigious Merrick Momentum Award to be celebrated at the organization’s 2012 Momentum Award Dinner on October 24th. The finalists include:

Braintree – a payment platform that enables businesses to accept online and mobile payments by providing a merchant account, payment gateway, and recurring billing and credit card storage.

Narrative Science – a data analytics startup that automatically transforms vast amounts of data into stories in plain English, helping companies understand and communicate the insight they need to improve decision-making, create new products and optimize customer interactions.

Trunk Club – a technology-powered, personalized high-end shopping service designed specifically for busy guys who want to look good but don’t have time to upgrade their wardrobes.  Personal stylists handpick trunks of clothing and ship them directly to customers’ doorsteps free of charge.

As one of the primary drivers promoting entrepreneurship in Chicago, the CEC develops programming, provides resources, and facilitates relationships for startups in order to encourage growth.  The CEC supports a wide-range of entrepreneurs including digital startups at its flagship project, the co-working space at the Merchandise Mart, 1871.

The CEC’s Fifth Annual Momentum Awards Dinner will be held on October 24 at Millennium Park.  At the event, Michael Ferro, Chairman and CEO of Merrick Ventures LLC, will be honored with the CEC’s 2012 Entrepreneurial Champion Award.  The Entrepreneurial Champion Award honors a prominent member of the business and entrepreneurial community who not only is successful in their own business ventures, but is also concerned with the success of their surrounding entrepreneurial community.

Previous Entrepreneurial Champions include J.B. Pritzker, Jack Sandner, Rich Melman, and Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.

Glenn Tilton, Midwest Chairman, JP Morgan Chase and Chairman, United Continental Holdings, Inc., will be honored as the CEC’s inaugural Corporate Champion.  The Corporate Champion Award is presented to a leader of one of Chicago‘s great, established companies. Once mere startups themselves, these companies today are success stories of American industry. The Corporate Champion is selected for demonstrating exceptional vision and business outcomes in leading landmark Chicago companies while maintaining a commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This is an exciting time to be in Chicago where we now have a thriving community of entrepreneurs,” said Kevin Willer, President and CEO of the CEC. “Every great community needs great leaders.  We’re honored to be recognizing Michael Ferro and Glenn Tilton for their incredible leadership and support of the community and their great personal accomplishments.”

The Merrick Momentum Award is named after Merrick Ventures, LLC.  Merrick Ventures has sponsored the award every year to recognize startups with innovative services, disruptive business models and talented management teams.  Previous winners include The Savo Group, Eved, Sittercity, and GrubHub. Finalists are selected based on the companies’ revenue traction and near-term growth plans.

“The Merrick Momentum Award recognizes the entrepreneurial stars that have demonstrated momentum since their inception and are poised for continued growth.  This year’s finalists represent three of the best companies in Chicago. They are all well positioned to become our city’s next big success stories,” said Laura Ferris Anderson, Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase, CEC Board Member, and Co-Chair of the Momentum Awards Dinner.

The CEC is co-chaired by Jim O’Connor, Jr., Managing Director of MVC Capital, and Bryant Keil, Chairman and Founder of Potbelly Sandwich Works.  The Momentum Awards Dinner is presented by Title Sponsor JPMorgan Chase and Official Media Sponsor the Chicago Sun-Times.

For more information or to register, visit

About the CEC

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs on their path to building high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership. Its flagship project, 1871, fulfills CEC’s vision of a central address for entrepreneurs in Chicago. CEC runs and operates the workspace, develops programming, organizes events and ensures that the culture of 1871 allows entrepreneurs the greatest opportunity for success.

About the Momentum Awards Dinner

The Momentum Awards Dinner is the most important night of the year for entrepreneurship in Chicago, and the biggest celebration of the thriving community of Chicago entrepreneurs.  By bringing together Fortune 500 CEOs, leading Private Equity and Venture Capital investors, successful entrepreneurs, educational leaders, and entrepreneurs starting out, the Momentum Awards is a meeting place for the entire community to share success stories and set the tone for the future, all while benefiting the ever-important entrepreneurs that make Chicago great.  All proceeds benefit CEC programming and economic development efforts.

Melissa Lederer
Michael Huffstetler

SOURCE The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC)

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