Thought Leadership


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Takeaways from Techweek Chicago

July 3rd, 2017

Techweek recently held numerous events in Chicago this past week. Since its inception in 2011, Techweek has been connecting entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders, and other technology professionals in a handful of tech-hub cities across the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago. Techweek’s CEO, Amanda Signorelli, notes how the conference is extraordinarily unique in the sense that they never do the same thing each year. In its sixth year, the conference was organized in five carefully thought out days that provided opportunities for growth in both early tech-enthusiasts and successful tech CEOs/founders/executives alike.

Explorer, Entrepreneur, and Executive Passes

Techweek provides multiple levels of experiences and opportunities with three tiers in pricing. The Explorer pass is completely free and enables students, early start-ups, and new enthusiasts in the tech/business scene to “explore” and learn more about the state of technology companies, workplaces, and incubators in Chicago. The Entrepreneur and Executive passes are paid tickets that range from a variety of prices depending on how early you purchase them– these passes are tailored more towards developed founders/executives/etc to provide a deeper insight to grow and expand their companies/organizations.

Location, location, location.

Techweek Chicago partnered with countless venues, tech companies, incubators, and accelerators– such as Venue SIX10, Capital One, GoGo, 1871, WeWork, and Nerdery. Both paid and free attendees of Techweek got the chance to visit many of these locations in unique and eye-opening events.

Networking

Ever since Techweek was established, networking has been one of its pillar values. This year was no different, as individuals of all skill levels and experiences in Chicago’s tech startup scene gathered together at countless Techweek events. This conference is perhaps the perfect opportunity for people new and old to the business/technology space to meet new connections that will help grow their startup.

Events

There were numerous events this year that those with the Explorer pass could attend– the ones that stroke a chord with us were notably the Diversity in Tech discussion panel hosted by 1871 and the How to Start a Startup event held at WeWork. Some of the exclusive events and discussions were available to those with Executive passes. Leaders such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and founders such as SpotHero’s Mark Lawrence stopped by to speak at these events.

Takeaway

Whether you attended the free Explorer events or the paid Entrepreneur/Executive events, there was one thing that was heavily stressed this year at Techweek. From the Diversity in Tech panel to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s discussion, it was made vibrantly clear that Chicago is fastly growing into an expansive tech hub, and that anyone can make their mark in this city regardless of race, age, gender, class or any other discriminatory factor. There were several points made throughout the week such as:

  • Chicago is one of the cities that has the most universities.
  • Failing in a city like New York has deep repercussions, whereas in Chicago there are communities, incubators, accelerators, etc., to help you.
  • You can buy an apartment in Chicago for the price you pay for a closet in San Francisco.

In essence, Chicago is an extraordinary city and is the perfect place for anyone to start their business, launch their app, begin an organization, pursue education, and so on. Techweek has served an excellent reminder of Chicago’s greatness and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Techweek Chicago next year.